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Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Liveblog: Ft. Myers, FL townhall

12:39 p.m.: Second question: helping homeowners? Answer: We'll try to make it easier for homeowners to negotiate the terms of their mortgages. "Unless we address it in a serious way, we're not going to be able to get the economy back to where it needs to be."

12:34 p.m.: First question: how much emphasis on higher education and vocational training in the plan? Answer: there's a tax credit; funds for building or improving public colleges and universities; and emphasis on job training.

12:31 p.m.: OK, now time for questions. Full remarks here.

12:30 p.m.:
A moment of candor: "No plan is perfect. I can't tell you with one hundred percent certainy that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope." But, that said, "doing nothing is not an option -- you didn't send me to Washington to do nothing."

12:25 p.m.:
"Not just make-work jobs," he adds, but rather jobs that lay the groundwork for a stronger economic future. Point: this isn't just a short-term thing.

12:22 p.m.: "We'll put people back to work doing the work that needs to be done." That's what the recovery plan comes down to, really.

12:20 p.m.: President Obama is explaining the different "legs of the stool" -- not just the recovery plan but also the financial stability plan, including relief for homeowners. Gives a nod to Secretary Geithner's announcement this morning.

12:15 p.m.: President is laying out how Ft. Myers has been affected by the downturn. He's talking now about Steve Adkins, the president of a small construction company in Ft. Myers that specializes in school building and repair. Work is slow, and he's been forced to lay off 50 percent of his workers just to make ends meet. The Adkins family -- Steve and Michelle (both are 41) and their children (son Bailey 11; daughter Josie, 7) -- had to sell their home and move into a smaller one.
The whole family is attending the town hall.

12:13 p.m.:
President Obama returned the favor and thanked Gov. Crist. "The thing about governors is they understand our economic crisis in a way people who are a little more removed may not understand."

12:10 p.m.:
Florida's Republican Governor Charlie Crist is introducing the President before the crowd in Fort Myers. "It's important we pass this package," he said (not verbatim). "It's important that we do so to help education. To help our infrastructure. And to provide health care for those who need it the most, the most vulnerable. And Mr. President let me finish by saying we need to do it in a bipartisan way."

11:55 a.m.:
Like Elkhart, IN, the town President Obama visited yesterday, Ft. Myers, FL has been hit hard by the economic downturn. It has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country -- and, like much of Florida, the downturn in construction has been particularly devastating. Take a look at what the economic recovery act will do in Florida.

11:45 a.m.: The President is in Ft. Myers, FL, today, where he's due to kick off a town hall meeting on the economic recovery plan in just a little while.

MD5: 2e06de38ed73ea1b66323973859c2f57
Original URL: http://whitehouse.gov/blog_post/ft_myers_FL/

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