Obama touts manufacturing investment in Prince George

PRINCE GEORGE (WWBT) - President Barack Obama made his way to the Rolls-Royce plant in Prince George County to unveil a plan to boost manufacturing jobs in the U.S. His visit here accomplishes two goals, unveil a program that centers in on the biggest issue of the campaign- jobs and the economy, and do so in a swing state.

Despite the call for more than $1 billion in new spending, the president had an unlikely ally.

As he bounded up the steps to the stage, President Obama gave a greeting we are starting to hear pretty often.

"Hello, Virginia!"  he yelled to applause.

The president said it is time to once again grow manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and he has a plan to do just that.

"By inventing things and building things and selling them all around the world stamped with three proud words," he said. "Made in America."

Governor Bob McDonnell (R) watched the speech and was largely supportive of the Obama proposal, but wondered what took so long.

"I think it's about time we started talking about jobs," he said. "We didn't talk about that a lot the first couple years."

The McDonnell administration has already invested $100 million in state funds for a similar program outlined today by President Obama. It is a program Rolls-Royce participates in.

The federal plan calls for the development of 15 centers of technology innovation. It would cost $1 billion. McDonnell, who has been critical of Washington's big spending programs like the $787 billion stimulus of 2009, believes this proposal makes more sense.

"If it is truly plans that will return your investment in a year or two or three," he argued, "That's money worth spending."

Obama is willing to bet his presidency on that belief.

"I did not run for this office just to get back to where we were.  I ran for this office to get us to where we need to be," Obama said to applause.

His speech was not filled with much campaign rhetoric, but he did, vow:

"And I promise you we will get there."

Whether or not he wins in November will depend on if you believe him.

But despite his promise, it will probably take a second term to have a program like this to have any hope of passing. Republicans remain reluctant to approve any new spending, especially in an election year.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.