MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.

Former Google exec cues Obama to plug jobs plan

Inviting questions, President Obama got one he was happy to answer.

“Would you please raise my taxes?” one man asked the president at a town hall here Monday, hosted by the social networking company LinkedIn.

The questioner described himself as unemployed by choice after succeeding at a search-engine startup company that did “quite well” – he was later identified as former Google executive Doug Edwards – and said he wants the nation to spend more on education, infrastructure and job training.

That gave Obama a chance to promote his nearly $450 billion jobs plan that would be paid for by higher taxes opposed by Republicans but not, evidently, by some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest.

“I appreciate the fact that you recognize that we’re in this thing together. We’re not our own,” Obama said. “Those of us who have been successful, we’ve always got to remember that.”

In a session dominated by economic concerns, the president plugged his jobs agenda in fielding questions on the employment picture, education, Medicare and Social Security.

The president spoke midway through a three-state Western swing built largely around fundraising for himself and other Democrats.

BOISE, Idaho

Animal rights activists claim they started fire at fur retailer

Animal rights activists said they pumped fuel into an Idaho fur and fireworks retailer before setting the place ablaze early Monday, and federal agents said they were taking the claim seriously.

Jerry Vlasak, a spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office in Los Angeles, said he received a message from activists shortly after the fire began at the Rocky Mountain Fireworks & Fur Co. on Monday morning.

In addition to fireworks, the business in Caldwell, outside Boise, buys coyote and bobcat pelts and sells trapping supplies, including equipment that helps drown beavers. It also sells knives, predator calls and scents to help lure bobcats.

The activists said they belonged to a group called “The Arson Unit” and could have ties to the Animal Liberation Front, Vlasak said.

TRENTON, N.J.

Governor blocks tax break for ‘Jersey Shore’ MTV show

MTV’s “Jersey Shore” won’t get a New Jersey tax break because Gov. Chris Christie says the show hurts the state’s image.

Christie on Monday blocked a $420,000 film credit that was approved for the show last week by the state Economic Development Authority.

The money was supposed to cover production costs for the hit reality series’ inaugural 2009 season.