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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

President Obama, Gov. Rick Scott use same Jacksonville company as evidence of their economic success

President Barack Obama in Jacksonville on Friday declared the 2009 federal stimulus a success that kept the U.S. economy from slipping into a depression.

Gary McCullough/Associated Press

President Barack Obama in Jacksonville on Friday declared the 2009 federal stimulus a success that kept the U.S. economy from slipping into a depression.

26

February

President Barack Obama and Gov. Rick Scott are battling over the same building in efforts to cement their legacies in stimulating the economy.

With Obama's visit to a lithium-ion battery company on Friday, the political leaders from opposing parties have now visited the same Jacksonville company within four months, both holding it up as an example of how their economic policies have spurred Florida's economic recovery since 2009.

After touring Saft America for nearly 20 minutes, Obama said the nearly 300 "jobs of the future" the company is creating is a clear success of the federal stimulus, also called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed seven years ago this month. Obama said despite withering criticism from Republicans over the $831 billion program from its inception, it kept America from slipping into an economic depression and spurred innovative new jobs.

"I came here to Saft to show what it means to invest in the future," Obama said. "Seven years ago the ground we are standing on was an empty plot of swampland. I don't know if gators make it up this far, but it was not someplace you'd want to be wandering around. It had been ignored for more than a decade since the Navy base here closed."

Obama said the Recovery Act didn't just create jobs. He said it invested in the innovation and technology that Saft represents.

"We took an empty swamp and turned it into an engine of innovation," Obama said.

Four months earlier, Scott was touring the same 235,000-square-foot facility and standing just a few hundred feet to the right highlighting his education policies to emphasize high-tech job training and his efforts to help recruit national and international companies to expand their operations in Florida.

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[Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2016 9:49pm]

    

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