- Associated Press - Friday, February 18, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Casting about for innovative job-creation ideas, President Obama is naming one of his critics to an advisory council responsible for finding new ways to promote economic growth and bring jobs to the U.S.

Mr. Obama will name Intel Corp. CEO Paul Otellino to the jobs and competitiveness council during a visit to the company’s semiconductor manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Ore., on Friday, a White House official said.

The aide requested anonymity to speak before Mr. Obama’s formal announcement.

As recently as September, Mr. Otellini complained that administration policies had created too much uncertainty for businesses and had failed to spark job growth or boost consumer confidence in the economy.

Mr. Otellini will appear with Mr. Obama on Friday. Mr. Obama created the council last month and named General Electric Co. chief executive Jeffrey Immelt as its chairman.

The president is on the West Coast promoting his agenda to make the U.S. more competitive globally.

Besides touring the semiconductor facility, Mr. Obama was to learn about programs the company has to encourage studies in science, technology, engineering and math, and get people the skills they need to compete for new high-tech jobs. He also was speaking about education’s role in fostering job creation and innovation.

Continuing his outreach to business leaders, Mr. Obama traveled to the San Francisco Bay area Thursday for dinner with a dozen top innovators, including Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Steve Jobs of Apple, who is on his third medical leave as concern about his health mounts. Also present were the chief executives of Yahoo!, Oracle, NetFlix and Twitter, and the president of Stanford University.

Mr. Obama is pushing for new spending on innovation, education, high-speed rail, faster Internet service and other programs that he says will better position the U.S. to compete against other nations.

But Republicans are pushing back, arguing that government spending without restraint is actually hindering job creation. They want to slash the budget. The Republican-controlled House was also nearing a vote on whether to do just that by cutting $61 billion from government spending this year.

“We’re broke,” says House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, about the country’s finances.

As that money fight raged in Washington, Mr. Obama left town Thursday on the latest in a series of weekly trips he’s been taking to promote the competitiveness agenda he outlined in his State of the Union address.

With unemployment holding at 9 percent, a seal of approval from Silicon Valley’s leading innovators could bolster Mr. Obama’s sales pitch.

At the Woodside, Calif., home of venture capitalist John Doerr, Mr. Obama and the innovators brainstormed ideas. White House spokesman Jay Carney said afterward that Mr. Obama wants to keep exchanging ideas with the group “so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States.”

Over dinner, Mr. Obama discussed his proposals to spend on research and development and to expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, Mr. Carney said. The president also talked about his goal of doubling exports within five years to help support and create new jobs, his plans for spending on education and a new initiative to assist small businesses and start-up companies, he said.

The group also discussed ways to encourage people to study science, technology, engineering and math and to pursue careers in those fields, he said.

Despite Mr. Otellini’s criticism of Mr. Obama, Intel is partnering with the administration on education.

Last year, Intel announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to promote math and science education. It also is one of four companies that are working to help meet Mr. Obama’s goal of getting the U.S. to first place in science and math education in a decade.

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