Obama's Personal Role In One Man's Job Search

Barack Obama Google+ hangout new jobPresident Obama got personal with one voter in his Google+ hangout Monday evening, when he promised to help her husband find a job. And apparently it wasn't just a rhetorical stunt. Obama sent out the man's resume to various contacts in his area, and several recruiters have come calling, reports The Associated Press.

Jennifer Wedel, a 29-year-old insurance agent and mother of two in Fort Worth, Texas, made the news earlier this week when she asked the president in a live chat why foreign workers were getting temporary visas, called H-1B, sponsored by companies to do highly skilled work. The country wasn't desperate for highly-skilled workers, she said. Her husband, a semi-conductor engineer, had 10 years of experience, but hasn't been able to find a permanent job since he was laid off three years ago.

Obama replied that he was surprised; he'd heard from industry leaders that those kinds of high-tech workers were in serious demand. He asked Wedel to send him her husband's resume. "I'd be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there," he said.

Wedel told the AP Wednesday that the White House deputy chief of staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco, called her two days later and told her that Obama was on the case. And recruiters have contacted the family multiple times since.

Republicans have spinned the incident as emblematic of an out-of-touch president. The Republican National Committee edited a video together to that effect, and the National Republican Congressional Committee launched the site Careerdestroyer, where Americans can submit their resumes to the White House, so that "the Democrats will finally get 'what's happening' -- their policies have destroyed careers across the country."

But conservatives aren't against the H-1B visas Wedel was complaining about. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, published a report Tuesday arguing that the government should issue more of the visas, because skilled immigrants are a great boon to the U.S. economy. The report calls the recent decline in the number of these visas a sign that the country is "moving backward."

Wedel's concern about the visas wasn't placated by Obama's response. "It's really an issue that's kind of hush-hush," she told journalist Peter G. McDermott after the hangout. "Big corporations lobby for H-1B. And when the president, or whoever, talk about creating jobs, you think of the people who are on the streets, or the people of the Occupy movement. You don't really think college-educated with 10-years-plus experience who can't get jobs."

Wedel, who called herself a "good Republican," told McDermott that she would probably vote for Obama in the fall. "I have been so disappointed with the presidential race. I haven't seen anybody who would have been a good replacement," she said. "I know how Obama is now. I know how he rolls. So I'd probably vote him back in."

She later told the AP that Obama's personal help in her husband's job hunt wouldn't play a role in her decision come November. "Just because he's able to send a resume out, that's not going to be a vote factor," she said. "We're just one American. There are thousands of Americans just like my husband with no job."



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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

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straight_skinny

President Obama will win reelection in my view, and leave office as one of our better Presidents after serving 8 years and leaving this country prosperous-and the world-a far better and safer place to live in.

February 06 2012 at 5:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to straight_skinny's comment
patriotisland

How will it be safer? The Democrats are already returning to the same appeasement/downsize the US military approach in national security that brought terror to the USA.
Had President Clinton taken BIn Laden when Sudan offered him up 911 would not have been part of our history. The US would not have been drawn into conflict if Afghan and we'd most likey would have handled Iraq without the need to go in at the cost of US casualties. But since the Democrats ignored the threat and reduced our troops and overall military might, America has been an attractive target of enemies, new and old.

Before Obama, the U.S. military decimated al Qaeda killing tens of thousands of trained terrorists and many leaders, rather than allowing more 911s to occur in US soil.

Before Obama, the Bush Administration gathered the intelligence Obama that eventually led Osama bin Laden death in Pakistan while Obama boasted was his accomplishment.

Under Obama, Iraq is already showing signs of crumbling and civil war is coming. This in the wake of Bush who eliminated al Qaeda’s safe haven in Iraq, Iran is now poised to take control of the middle east while they build towards a new nuclear threat.

Libya was handed to al Qaeda by Obama and they now have control of the richest country in Africa along with the weapon stockpile left by Gaddafi.

Since Obama, Russia has become the leader in manned space flight. They have control of the USA's trillion dollar investment in the ISS. Russia has sided with every enemy of the US and they now have aircraft that fly faster, missle defense that is superior, and they know that this persident has given this on a silver platter.

February 06 2012 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mhwyman7

If you want the Republicans to stop supporting H1-B, Tell them all the Indian Chinese, Arab, Mexican Engineers are forming a International Engineers Union. watch Boehner start tap dancing then.

February 06 2012 at 5:04 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lifehub

That's correct, Obama didn't engage in a rhetoical stunt, but in a theatrical one.

February 06 2012 at 5:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
defensearms

How low they can go to get votes?...door to door to get votes...than once elected...door to door to get all what you have.

February 06 2012 at 4:16 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
heerox001

The president has been tested and passed.

February 06 2012 at 4:02 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
wayneinoh

Since Obama is "The Big Evil" in the eyes of the republicans, perhaps Carl Rove and the rest of the Bush stooges could help get him a job as a CIA agent and then out him as they like to do.

February 06 2012 at 3:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bandy4321

Who put into legislation package H-1B and what year did it pass?

February 06 2012 at 3:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bandy4321's comment
M

H-1B has been around quite a while.
Before the tech/dotcom bubble went crazy, the limit was about 25,000 a year, but the companies convinced "the powers that be" to raise it to about one-quarter million rather abruptly. After all, posted job ads were requesting things like "PHD with 11 years in semiconductor design and manufacturing, 40 hour work week, pay $42,000 per year", and they were having a hard time filling such jobs. (We need more engineers!) *sigh* A few years later, (2001/2002ish), it was cut back, but the dotcom bust had hit at that point. Defense jobs requiring security clearances could not use foreign nationals/H-1B visa holders, but there is a different visa for research projects, (follow the link, read, and be amazed...).
As you would expect, nearly all of those former work visa holders went back home, taking the intimate knowledge or the products they designed and manufactured along with them. Any guesses what they did with that knowledge? Did you guess same thing, different counry?

February 06 2012 at 3:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alvan Alexander

Ever heard the phrase; 'Jobs americans won't do" The Fort Worth Star-Telegram version of this story ended with the family turning down the jobs offered because. The did not want to move from the area.

February 06 2012 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rocketski

One down and 23,000,000 to go but I don't think he can do it in less that a year. His time is running out!

February 06 2012 at 1:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pslcitizen

How many years do you think it will take for him to find everyone else a job? lol

February 06 2012 at 1:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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