DENVER - Vice President Joe Biden continued the White House's traveling sales pitch for its economic recovery plan Tuesday at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science - the same place President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill three months ago.
Biden brought along members of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, including the secretaries of labor, agriculture and housing and urban development.
It was the fourth in a series of town hall-style meetings for the task force.
This one focused on "green jobs," such as manufacturing wind turbines, insulating homes or installing rooftop solar panels.
"This has energy - no pun intended," Biden said. "This has energy to it. These are real, live jobs."
The stimulus bill will create 450,000 green jobs, Biden said.
Biden also announced that $500 million from the stimulus bill would be used to retrain people who live in low-income housing for green jobs.
He got a friendly welcome from the about 200 people who attended the meeting, including Southern Ute Tribal Chairman Matthew Box.
Some tickets were given to members of the public.
Questions were not hostile, but some people expressed unease at whether the government could help workers survive the recession.
One person asked about advice for recent college graduates who have no job opportunities.
One man complained about assurances last year from Republicans and Democrats alike that the shareholders of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had nothing to worry about.
But the government has taken over those two huge mortgage lenders.
"Where does the integrity of the federal government lie?" the man asked.
Biden handed off the question to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who said the firms' leaders can't be allowed to get "unjust" bonuses, but the companies have to be saved because they back three-quarters of all new U.S. mortgages.
Bob Gough of the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy asked what the Obama administration was doing to harness renewable energy on tribal lands.
"The electric grid that crosses Indian Country - that's our farm to market road," Gough said.
Biden leaped at the question, noting the stimulus bill's $11 billion investment in the electrical grid.
"This was not a planted question," he assured the crowd.
Box, in an interview, said the Utes have worried about the condemnation of Native American land that might be needed to improve the grid, but he shares the same dream of a clean-energy system as the Obama administration and trusts officials to do right by the tribes.
"I think their heart is good," Box said.
Despite the plethora of programs funded by the stimulus bill, Biden said government wasn't the answer. But it is a "catalyst" for transforming the economy, he said.
"Think about this: No government in the history of the world has had an allocation of nearly a trillion dollars to fundamentally change the way we think about economic growth," Biden said.