Obama backs U.S. return to math, science, tech


That anecdote "gives you a sense of what's happening around the world," Obama said. "There is a hunger for knowledge, an insistence on excellence, a reverence for science and math and technology and learning. That used to be what we were about. That's what we're going to be about again."

Obama called for broad cooperation with the private sector to help train the workers and said that by 2020, he wants to see the U.S. again leading the world in college graduates.

They key to succeeding in the global economy, Obama said, "will be reaffirming and strengthening America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation."