SAN FRANCISCO -- Speaking before thousands of workers at Boeing's Everett production plant Friday morning, President Barack Obama called on Congress to take steps to boost U.S. exports as he pointed to Boeing as a homegrown company helping America's economy by doing business overseas.
The Boeing plant was Obama's first stop in the Seattle area as he wraps up a three-day West Coast fundraising tour. The president is scheduled to appear at two fundraising events in the Eastside this afternoon.
The president landed at Paine Field Airport in Everett around 10:40 a.m., where he was greeted by Governor Chris Gregoire, Mike Gregoire, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn.
Watch President Obama's departure from Western Washington on KING 5 News and KING5.com.
After a tour of the Boeing production facility, Obama delivered a speech on manufacturing and boosting U.S. exports. [ Read full text of speech. ]
Obama pushed for Congress to continue financing a national export credit agency crucial to a goal of doubling exports by 2014. (YouTube video courtesy Dan DaSilva)
The president said American workers will always win if they can compete on a level playing field, and he is announcing steps to offer financing to U.S. companies to match help their competitors get from overseas.
Obama to attend Eastside fundraisers
In the afternoon, Obama will attend fundraising events in Medina and Bellevue. He will be the guest of honor at a brunch at the Medina home Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman. The cost to attend the brunch is $17,900 a person. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, singer Natalie Cole is expected to perform at the brunch. About 65 people are expected to attend.
Obama then attends an event at the Westin Bellevue Hotel, where attendees will pay a $1,000 entrance fee. Some 450 people are expected to attend.
In the evening, the president departs Paine Field and returns to Washington, D.C.
January turned out to be one of the strongest months for the president when it comes to fundraising. Obama raised $29 million in January alone for his campaign and the Democratic party. Overall, he has raised a total of $250 million during his election.
The president has spent the last couple of days in California, where 1,000 supporters watched a performance of the Grammy-winning rock band Foo Fighters on the grounds of soap opera producer Brad Bell's home in Los Angeles.
Later, 80 people paid $35,800 each to attend a dinner at Bell's home. In San Francisco, Obama made an unscheduled stop in the city's Chinatown neighborhood.