Live blog: Obama tells Raleigh, NC State, 'Let's get to work' - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Live blog: Obama tells Raleigh, NC State, 'Let's get to work'

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President Barack Obama returns to the Triangle Wednesday for a major announcement on a public private initiative at N.C. State University. WNCN.com will live blog the event and livestream his arrival and speech.

2:05 p.m.: Obama boarded Air Force One for the return trip.

1:33 p.m.: Obama's speech wrapped up. The speech lasted less than half an hour.

1:26 p.m.: Obama said manufacturing has a been a bright spot in the U.S. economy and that the U.S. has created 540,000 jobs in the past four years.

Raleigh, he said, will be the hub for a new partnership that focuses on developing wide bandgap semiconducts lose less power and can make energy smaller, faster and cheaper.

"So this manufacturing hub right here ... go Pack! ... is going to make it easier for the wide bandgap semiconductors to go from [development to the market]," he said.

Obama said his administration is about to unveil two more hubs in the coming days. 

"We have always been about research innovation and commercializing that innovation so that everyone can benefit," Obama said.

"You get a virtuous cycle were everybody is doing better. And that's what we can do if we pull together.

"This  is going to be a long haul. We're not going to turn this around overnight."

He concluded by saying, "Congratulations North Carolina State, congratulations Raleigh, and let's get to work."

Wide bandgap semiconductors explained

1:17 p.m.: Obama joked to the crowd that the event started at 1 p.m. so it wouldn't conflict with tonight's N.C. State game with Wake Forest.

"I've learned a few things as president," he said. "One thing is not to compete with college basketball down here on Tobacco Road." 

He also welcomed the many politicians who were there, although he stumbled a bit on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, saying, "Your governor, Pat, uh, McCrory is here."

He made a point of praising Sen. Kay Hagan, who did not come.

"Your senator, Kay Hagan, could not be here but I wanted to thank her publicly for the great work she is doing," he said.

1:07 p.m.: President Obama is about to come out and speak at N.C. State shortly, and Wolfpack fans crammed into the Isenhour Tennis Center are shouting the familiar "Wolf-Pack! Wolf-Pack!" as they wait for Obama.

12:53 p.m.: The presidential motorcade has now arrived at N.C. State. Remember, WNCN will carry his speech online and on TV.

12:34 p.m.: Expect traffic delays now as President Barack Obama's motorcade heads from the Research Triangle Park to N.C. State.

I-40 East is now blocked for the presidential motorcade and other roads en route are also blocked. 

I-40 East is blocked now for the motorcade.

12:16 p.m.: President Obama is now visiting to Vacon, the Research Triangle Park base for research and development. The RTP facility is part of a company based out of Finland.

11:56 a.m.: We just talked to Gov. Pat McCrory about his conversation with President Obama on the tarmac. McCrory said he had questions about energy, and Obama agreed to have his energy secretary meet with McCrory and the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, when they have a scheduled visit to Washington in February.

McCrory has argued that the United States is too dependent on foreign countries for energy resources, and he wants to develop more options at home. That includes support for fracking and offshore drilling, options that have drawn concern from environmentalists.

McCrory said he also spoke with Obama about food stamps, Medicaid and unemployment.

11:32 a.m.: We know many of you are wondering which roads in the Triangle will be closed with Obama here. He's in his limo now, and we just checked with WNCN traffic reporter Page Crawford.

She said the roads that will be closed at parts of the afternoon are I-40, I-440, Wade Avenue, Hillsborough Street, Western Boulevard, N.C. 147 in Durham, T.W. Alexander Drive and Cornwallis Road.

11:13 a.m.: Gov. Pat McCrory is a Republican but he told WNCN anchor Phil Sanchez he thought it was important for him to be there to greet Obama.

McCrory said he is hoping to get extra time with Obama while the president is in town.

Obama came off the plane with Congressman Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, an dMcCrory was the first one to greet him off the plane. McCrory and Obama greeted each other warmly and the McCrory and Obama engaged in a discussion  that lasted about a minute and appeared to conclude with warm banter.

Obama also spoke to Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane, Durham mayor Bill Bell and Chapel Hill mayor Mark Kleinschmidt after his conversation with McCrory.

10:57 a.m.: Air Force One is scheduled to land at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Wednesday at around 11:05 a.m. WNCN will cover the event live on television and online.

Obama will speak at N.C. State's J.W. Isenhour Tennis Complex sometime after 1 p.m. His speech is scheduled to explain how a consortium of 18 business and six universities, led by N.C. State, has been selected to lead a manufacturing innovation institute to develop power electronics.

Hundreds of N.C. State students will be in attendance, but the crowd won't be as large as his previous trip to N.C. State because Reynolds Coliseum was not available.

Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to meet Obama at RDU, but Sen. Kay Hagan is not making the trip to Raleigh for the event. Republicans held a news conference Wednesday morning to blast Hagan for not coming. Hagan is up for election in November and is expected to face a strong Republican challenge.

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