President Obama calls for more energy independence in local spee - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

President Obama calls for more energy independence in local speech

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - President Obama used his visit to the Tar Heel state to call for more domestic production of natural gas and an increase in alternative fuel vehicles on the nation's roadways.

Air Force One landed at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport as President Barack Obama prepares for a speech in Gaston County just before noon.

Mr. Obama walked out of the Boeing 747 (VC-25) accompanied by U.S. Representative Mel Watt, and was greeted by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.

The President then walked over to a crowd of about 100 people who were waiting, and hoping for a greeting or handshake.  6 year old Davis Marsico, a student at Indian Land Elementary, was the first person to shake Mr. Obama's hand.

"It was like a dream come true," Davis told WBTV.  "He just shook my hand for the first time ever."

The President then left by motorcade and spoke before a crowd of employees and supporters at the Daimler Trucks North America in Mount Holly.

The trucking plant that has been hiring new workers to help fill an up tick in orders.

The plant is one of three Freightliner plants in the Charlotte region.

A rebounding economy and increased productivity at Daimler are what's bringing Mr. Obama to Gaston County.

In recent years, there's been a spike in manufacturing and in turn more trucks and vehicle parts have rolled off the assembly line.

His trip comes less than a week after first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited North Carolina, a key battleground state for the presidential election.

At one time, the Freightliner plant in Cleveland employed nearly 4,000 workers. Now it has about 1,600.

The President said he is also calling on Congress to pass $1 billion in grant money for local communities to use to help buy more fuel efficient and alternative energy vehicles.

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