Kildee asked what one person described as a somewhat “long-winded” question about the importance of creating jobs for his economically distraught district. “I can tell you’re a freshman because you didn’t pay much attention to the State of the Union,” Obama joked. “I talked about that.”
Amid the resulting laughter, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California then offered to provide Kildee a printout of the speech. Obama was referring to his $1 billion proposal for 15 manufacturing “innovation centers,” the details of which are still somewhat hazy.
Actually, though, the joke was on Obama: On Wednesday, Kildee had met with the White House legislative affairs team about the innovation centers proposal, so he was quite familiar with it. And his question was broader, about what types of reforms are necessary to reform decaying urban centers like Flint, Mich., which Kildee represents