President Obama on Friday touted his efforts to revive the economy, called on Congress to join him in doing more and announced a new initiative to help returning military veterans find jobs.
Obama spoke at noon at a Honeywell facility in Golden Valley, before heading to a fundraising event for his campaign at a downtown Minneapolis restaurant.
The president urged Congress to offer tax incentives to businesses to hire the unemployed, and to homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower rates.
In a remark referring to the home furnace regulators that Honeywell makes -- and which drew peals of laughter from Honeywell employees -- the president said the congressional incentives might give Americans the extra cash they need to buy a "thingamajig for their furnace.
Obama acknowledged the economy is "not where we want [it] to be," but cited signs of an emerging economic recovery, including in the manufacturing sector.
"We will come back stronger. We do have better days ahead and that's because of all of you," he said.
"I place my bets on American workers and American businesses any day of the week," Obama added.
Talking about his new initiative to help returning veterans get jobs, he said: "I believe that no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home."
Thanking veterans for their service, the president said, "Just like you fought for us, we'll keep fighting for you, for more jobs..."
Obama arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Tim Walz, both Democrats, aboard.
At the airport, he was greeted by U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar along with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. He was also met by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
The president had a particularly long chat with Ellison on the tarmac, but the nature of the discussion wasn't immediately known.
At Honeywell, Obama announced a new "We Can't Wait" initiative.
Many soldiers have had a difficult time translating their military work experience to civilian jobs, and the effort aims to help thousands of service members get the civilian credentials and licenses they need to score jobs in manufacturing and a range of other high-demand industries such as health care and trucking.
Referring to a military medic who faced daunting training requirements upon returning home, Obama said that "If he can save lives on the battlefield, he can save lives in an ambulance."
As many as 126,000 service members could benefit from the effort, a senior administration official said, adding that the cost would be "pretty minimal and paid for with existing resources."
It's the latest of a series of initiatives Obama has championed to help veterans, and his campaign has been underlining the effort as it tries to win support in a traditionally Republican voting bloc. A Memorial Day Gallup poll showed military veterans supporting Republican Mitt Romney over Obama 58 to 34 percent.
Honeywell was chosen by the administration to unveil the new program because of the company's record of hiring veterans.