President Barack Obama said Monday that better economic days are coming thanks to innovation and some help from the government.
"As we emerge from this current economic crisis, our great challenge will be to ensure that we do not just drift into the future," Mr. Obama said at Hudson Valley Community College. "Instead, we must choose to do what past generations have done: shape a brighter future through hard work and innovation."
Mr. Obama delivered of a mix of an economic pep talk and a plug for his plan for economy recovery: a sustained investment in education, technology, health care and research. He told his audience that Washington has for years not lived it up to its responsibilities to help.
"If government does its modest part, there is no stopping the most powerful and generative economic force the world has ever known: the American people," Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama also praised a plan to keep wireless carriers from blocking certain types of Internet traffic flowing over their networks.
The president said Monday he was pleased that the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is announcing principles to preserve an open Internet in which all Americans can participate and benefit.
Mr. Obama told a community college audience in upstate New York that full access to the Internet's powers is essential to improving education and innovation in America.
The president's pitch came in a region where the economic mood has long been gloomy. Nationwide, unemployment is at 9.7 percent, the highest level since 1983.
He then moves on to New York City, where he will become the first sitting U.S. president to appear on David Letterman's "Late Show" couch on CBS - another example of a White House strategy designed to put Obama in front of as many cameras as possible to sell his message to a skeptical public.
"He's been on everything but the Food Channel," joked Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Meanwhile, embattled New York Gov. David Paterson was the first to greet Obama as he walked off Air Force One into the epicenter of a dispute over the New York governor's race. The two men shook hands after Obama arrived Monday. The president leaned over to make a brief comment to Paterson.