‘Santa’s extra elves’ welcome Obama at Pa. toy factory

    Some employees at the Tinkertoy manufacturer visited by President Barack Obama Friday say they’re glad the president is still in a campaign mode of sorts.

    Obama visited the Hatfield toy factory to make a public push for his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff by raising taxes on the country’s wealthiest wage-earners.

    Longtime employees Maria Makins and Tammy Shiber say they understand some people may have political fatigue after the election, but they still appreciate the president’s visit.

    “I think he still needs to reassure the country,” Makins said.

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    “He cares about middleclass people, you know?” Shiber added.

    “Right,” replied Makins. “And he’s going to do a good job for us in the next four years and continue to help ‘Made in America,’ and working for people like us, middle class people, and people that go out and spend their money on things made in this country.”

    Obama referred to the workers as “Santa’s extra elves.”

    Employee Rich Erb says the weeks before the holidays are crunch time for the toy company, which also makes K’NEX.

    And thankfully, he says, sales have been consistent for the past few years, even with the economic downturn.

    “One of the good things with toys is … parents will always buy their kids toys. Regardless of times are tough, times are hard. That’s the one nice thing,” he said. “They’re a little bit recession proof.”

    Several employees said workers at the toy company represent a mix of political persuasions.

    But the president’s supporters were by far the most talkative Friday during his visit.

    They say it’s important for the president to make a public case for his plan to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

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