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Open Thread: Obama in Cambridge

President Obama was in town yesterday, and I didn’t even know he was coming. I didn’t see anything about it when I was writing my news post yesterday, so I was surprised when one of my students told me about it. Obama was at MIT to visit labs that are working on green energy.

In a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s energy labs, Mr. Obama said the nation that wins the global competition for scientific and engineering breakthroughs will lead the global economy.

“I want America to be that nation. It’s as simple as that,” Mr. Obama said to loud applause inside MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, where about 800 people, including some of the region’s top energy scientists and engineers, listened.

Before his address, Mr. Obama toured a research lab at MIT to see ongoing experiments on solar, battery, wind and LED lighting that included an experimental rooftop solar collector that concentrates sunlight on solar electric cells to increase their output.The president pointed to $80 billion in clean energy grants and investments distributed as part of the federal economic recovery program as helping fuel what he said will be a transformation to cleaner energy. That shift will increase national security, create jobs and combat global warming, he said.

I guess it pays to have a governor who is pals with the President, even if we here in Massachusetts aren’t that thrilled with him (Gov. Deval Patrick). Obama announced that the feds are building a new facility in Charlestown that will design and test new wind turbines to be used all over the U.S. It sounds like that could mean jobs. If Obama really creates green energy jobs, I’ll be the first to applaud his efforts. Although I’m wary of his promises, I’d like to believe that he really means to do this.

You can watch part of Obama’s MIT speech here.

WBUR public radio interviewed MIT students about the visit. They weren’t all that enthused about what Obama’s performance on energy so far.

After his whirlwind trip to the Boston area, Obama moved on to Connecticut to help embattled Senator Chris Dodd. You can watch video of that here.

This is an open thread.

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