MUMBAI, India (Nov. 9) — Licking his political wounds as he flew to India late last week, President Obama came to realize it was unemployment more than any other issue that was the Democrats’ undoing in the midterm elections. If his party was to recover in time for a better showing in 2012, he’d have to act fast. Getting people back to work had to be priority number one.
A steady recovery of the nation’s finances seemed to be under way. But where were all the jobs?
Shortly after his arrival in this economic powerhouse of South Asia, he found his answer.
“Oh, here they are,” said Obama of the millions of American jobs lost to outsourcing since the Bush Administration. “I’ve been looking for these everywhere.”
Eager to repair his image and rebuild his presidency after last week’s self-described “shellacking,” the president was intent on remaking his week-long trip across the Far East into an effort to fix the so-called “jobless recovery.” His four-day visit to India would be just the place to start.
“I wish my opponents could see how these hard-working Native Americans are propelling themselves toward the middle class,” Obama told reporters outside a customer service call center he visited near Mumbai.
Reminded that Indians are not citizens of the United States, the president said he didn’t like using the term “Indian” and preferred instead to say “Native Americans.”
“A lot of the people I met in that office today traveled a long way from their homes in America to earn a living for their families,” the president said. “They realize that you have to mobile and flexible in a world where globalization is now the way of doing business.”
Obama talked of some of the workers he had seen inside the sprawling InfoSys headquarters, and said he was moved by their stories.
“I met a fellow named Harry from a town called Clevesland, and all he could talk about was ‘how about that Browns football group and that Rocking Roll hall of fames?'” the president recounted. “He was so proud of his hometown. He made such an impression on me that I signed up for the credit protection plan he was offering for only $9.95 a month, deducted directly from my credit card.”
Later in the day, the president made the short walk from his hotel to the historic Gateway of India monument. He was swarmed by well-wishers who wanted to welcome the American president to their country. Many waved open palms and chanted “please, sir” in a traditional gesture of greeting. One woman “gave” him a small flower, then insisted on being paid a dollar.
In a tour of the city, known for its fabulous wealth as a financial and entertainment center as well as the site of some of the world’s largest slums, the president complimented municipal officials on their advanced infrastructure.
“I see now what will be the future of an America increasingly controlled by fiscal conservatism,” Obama remarked. “Your broken pavement, your stalled traffic, your sewage running into the streets, this is how we will live in the twenty-first century. I look forward to the day we’ll see commuters riding the tops of trains into American cities.”
The president was also quick to comment on the prevalence of sacred Brahman cattle roaming the city.
“It lends a nice agrarian touch to the urban landscape,” Obama said. “On my return home, I will seek passage of a bill to promote free-range cattle throughout the U.S. It’s true that everything goes better with cows.”
The president was scheduled to leave India today for a stop in Indonesia. However, those plans may change because of safety concerns surrounding the eruption of the Mt. Merapi volcano.
“Frankly, the president is scared of volcanoes,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “The boiling orange lava, the poisonous gases, the hot steam are all a little too reminiscent of (incoming Republican House Speaker) John Boehner.”