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Obama hosts science fair

ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION U.S. President Barack Obama hosted more than 100 students at the White House science fair on Tuesday (February 7). Obama inspected the exhibits sprawled about several rooms on the ground floor and helped eight-grader Joey Hudy of Phoenix launch his Extreme Marshmallow Cannon, which shot a sugary morsel at the wall of the State Dining Room. After viewing the exhibits, Obama told the students that that they made him "confident" about the future of the United States. "When you work and study and excel at what you're doing in math and science, when you compete in something like this, you're not just trying to win a prize today, you're getting America in shape to win the future," Obama said. "You're making sure we have the best, smartest, most skilled workers in the world so that the jobs and industries tomorrow take root right here," he added. Obama, who is running for re-election in November at a time when the economy is voters' top concern, has sought to emphasize math and science education as one of the keys to a robust economic recovery. Many U.S. business leaders have complained that a shortage of workers with strong math and science skills has forced them to look abroad. Obama also proposed $80 million in new government funding for a program to boost science and math education in U.S. schools. The aim of the new proposed funding is to train 100,000 specialized teachers and to help produce more American graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next decade. "What these young people are doing is going to make a bigger difference in the life of our country over the long term than just about anything," Obama said. Obama will formally unveil the funding request in his proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, which he will present on February 13. The request requires approval from the U.S. Congress. In addition to the government funds Obama is proposing, the president said philanthropic organizations and private companies have committed to providing $22 million to help train new math and science teachers. Organizations involved in the effort include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Freeport-McMoRan and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

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