White House emphasizes job as Obama to visit Asia

By the Associated Press | November 9, 2011 | 1:55 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says U.S. jobs will be at the forefront when President Barack Obama embarks on a nine-day trip to Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia later this week. The visit will also highlight the growing economic and political importance of Asia.

Obama leaves Friday for Hawaii, where the U.S. will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. From there he makes a long-delayed visit to Australia, before ending his trip in Indonesia to attend the East Asia Summit.

The trip will take Obama out of Washington as the 2012 presidential race heats up and the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction nears a pre-Thanksgiving deadline. But White House officials said Wednesday that economic growth at home is tied directly to the growing nations of Asia so the trip is important for Obama.