Obama traveled to Austin to tout jobs creation in industries that represent the future.
"You might not know this, because if you've, you know, listened to all the doom and gloom in Washington and politics and -- you're watching cable TV, sometimes you might get kind of thinking nothing's going right," Obama told listeners at Manor New Technology High School. "But the truth is, there's a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we're headed as a country, especially after all the tough times that we've been through over the last several years."
Obama kibitzed with students who built a robot designed to throw Frisbees. When the president asked the students to turn it on, it malfunctioned and Obama declared a "technical difficulty."
In his remarks, Obama said with corporate profits at all-time highs and many sectors of the economy doing better, it's time now to focus on creating jobs and opportunities for the middle class.
Obama said he needs people to lean "on your elected representatives and say, 'Hey, let's do something about this.'"
Obama noted 85,000 jobs have been created in the Austin area in the last three years, and Apple Inc. and Visa are poised to open new offices.
"According to one report, the tech sector now drives more than one-quarter of Austin's economy," he said. "And all of this has helped to make Austin one of the fastest-growing cities in America."
Obama also hit on familiar themes like the need to improve education and reduce college costs.
"Every young person in America deserves a world-class education. We've got an obligation to give it to them," he said.
After the school appearance, Obama went to Stubb's Bar-b-q for lunch and made small talk with other customers.
Obama largely repeated his talking points later an appearance at Applied Materials Inc., noting the U.S. economy is "dynamic" and "technology is constantly changing."
"That means we've got to adapt as well. And even as we're working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we've got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet," Obama said.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry said through a spokeswoman Texas was "the right place" for President Obama to visit to talk about economic growth.
"If President Obama is serious about getting our nation's economy working again, then he's come to the right place," Lucy Nashed told the National Review as Obama prepared for the first of several planned presidential day trips the White House calls "Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours" to remind Americans the economy still tops Obama's agenda, even as he addresses immigration reform and other issues.
"Texas' success didn't happen by accident," Nashed said. "It's a result of policies put in place under Governor Perry's leadership with a laser focus on making Texas a beacon of economic freedom."