President Obama discusses nation's economy at DreamWorks


White House officials say this was an opportunity to highlight the success of one business, and the success of creating jobs in California.

The president stepped up to the podium shortly before 1 p.m. in front of hundreds of DreamWorks employees, with smartphones and tablets at the ready, eager to hear Mr. Obama speak.

The president emphasized the importance of the entertainment industry, saying the stories that come out of Hollywood transmit the values and ideals of the nation, which in turn help shape the world culture in a way that has made the world better.

He said millions may never set foot in the U.S., but through entertainment, they've experienced a part of what makes the U.S. successful.

The president credited television shows like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," ''Will and Grace" and "Modern Family" for transmitting values like tolerance, diversity and overcoming adversity.

Mr. Obama also talked about the troubled roll out of his signature Affordable Care Act, quipping that the website is working better, so people should "check it out."

Overall, he painted the nation's economy as one that is moving forward and looking brighter - though he made it clear that there is still more work to be done, particularly in Washington. He added that Republicans need to be more cooperative in aiming for improvement in sectors like job creation and education, rather than rooting for failure of the health care overhaul.

Outside the studios, the president was greeted by protesters. They are visual effects artists who say they are losing jobs and those jobs are being outsourced to countries that offer subsidies. They want a duty on imports of subsidized special effects work. They think the president can do this without congressional approval.

"In this industry, there's a lot we can do keep jobs here by fighting runaway production, making sure our tax credits are competitive, making sure that we have access to foreign markets," said Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).

It wasn't all politics for the president. He spent part of the day getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the studio. The president saw a technique called motion capture photography used to create an animated feature. Then the president saw a recording studio, where he met actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons, who were there to do some voiceover work for an upcoming film.

DreamWorks is headed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, who raised millions for Mr. Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and donated $3 million to the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action.

The president's DreamWorks visit wraps up Mr. Obama's two-day trip in Los Angeles. He took off from Glendale on the Marine One helicopter and arrived at Los Angeles International Airport shortly before 2 p.m. From there, he boarded Air Force One and headed back to Washington.

Earlier in the day, the president attended a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the home of Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators of the show "Friends." The event cost as much as $32,000 per person, according to a DNC official. About 30 people attended, with all the funds going to support Democratic candidates.

Monday night, Mr. Obama spoke at two Beverly Hills-area fundraisers. He defended the Affordable Care Act, which has been plagued with a troubled rollout. He also spoke about the new agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

During this Southland visit, the president took time out of his schedule to meet with the family of Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed earlier this month at LAX.

The Hernandez family as well as two other TSA officers who were wounded during the shooting on Nov. 1 met the president at the Beverly Hilton.

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