Obama in Durham today

Posted June 13, 2011 9:40 a.m. EDT

President Barack Obama visits the Triangle today to unveil a new program aimed at job creation and waste reduction.

The President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness meets this morning at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. Then, this afternoon, Obama speaks at Cree, an LED maker in Durham. Obama visited Cree during his campaign in 2008.

We'll carry the president's remarks at Cree live here on WRAL.com at 1:00 pm.  

It's likely to be the first of several NC visits by Obama over the next year or two. Pundits on both sides of the aisle expect North Carolina to be a battleground state in the 2012 presidential election.  The Democrats are holding their 2012 presidential convention in Charlotte. 

NC Republicans are gearing up for the fight.  NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes issued the following statement this morning:

“As President Obama gives another platitude-filled campaign-style speech today, I hope he can explain why North Carolinians should believe him again after he failed to keep his promises to cut the deficit and keep unemployment under eight percent. If North Carolinians really want to ‘spur economic growth’ and ‘accelerate hiring,’ they will fire President Obama in 2012.”

The state party also released a video last week "to 'welcome' President Obama back to North Carolina," according to NCGOP spokesperson Mark Braden.