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Obama agenda: Focusing on manufacturing

The Raleigh News and Observer: “President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday that N.C. State University will be home to a $140 million consortium of companies and universities that will develop the next generation of energy-efficient electronic chips and devices. … The institute is one of three that Obama proposed in last year’s State of the Union address to improve the country’s manufacturing sector. The competition for funding was launched in May. Two additional institutes, focused on digital design and manufacturing and metals manufacturing, will be awarded in the coming weeks, the Obama administration says.”

Watch for tea party organized protests… The News and Observer: “President Barack Obama’s critics are organizing a protest to mark his arrival in Raleigh on Wednesday. Americans for Prosperity, a tea-party aligned group that opposes Obama’s agenda, is coordinating the effort. The conservative activists are gathering at the corner of Varsity and Western Boulevard on the N.C. State University campus.”

“President Barack Obama is expected to endorse changes to the way the government collects millions of Americans' phone records for possible future surveillance, but he'll leave many of the specific adjustments for Congress to sort out, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the White House intelligence review,” the AP writes. “That move would thrust much of the decision-making on Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act toward a branch of government that is deeply divided over the future of the surveillance apparatus. And members of Congress are in no hurry to settle their differences and quickly enact broad changes.”

Government dissatisfaction is ranked as the top concern, per Gallup, for 21% of voters. Second is the economy, then jobs, then health care.

“The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions,” The Hill writes. “The administration said it will extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end January 31, until March 15.”

Speaking of health care, National Journal points out that the White House has scaled back its goal of how many young people sign up for the Affordable Care Act. Initially, it was 38% (though, at First Read, we had been hearing one-third), now they say about 30%.