For the better part of the past year, Republicans have tried to come up with a new agenda for the American people with mixed results. However, the Tea Party is now the most potent force in Republican politics.
|Obama Blames the Internet for High Unemployment August 17, 2011|
|Obama Blames Arab Springs And Tsunami In Japan For Slower Growth August 5, 2011|
"We've weathered the Arab Springs effect on
oil and gas prices. The Japanese earthquake
and tsunami's effect on supply chains. The
extraordinary economic uncertainty in Europe
and recently markets around the globe have
taken a bumpy ride," Obama said this
"My concern right now, my singular focus is the American people. Getting the unemployed back on the job, lifting their wages, Rebuilding that sense of security the middle-class has felt slipping away for years."
|Obama Blames Politics for S&P Cut August 8, 2011|
President Barack Obama laid the blame for
the decision by Standard & Poor's to strip
the United States of its triple-A rating on
political wrangling on Monday, rejecting the
idea that the downgrade is indicative of
real doubts about the ability of the country
to pay off its debt.
Stocks weren't soothed by the speech, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank to a new session low shortly after the president finished speaking. The blue-chip index has broken below 11,000 for the first time since November 2010.
"They doubted the ability of our political system to act," Obama said of S&P's decision, saying the gridlock that early last week brought the United States close to default "wasn't constructive" as the "threat of default was used as a bargaining chip."
"We didn't need a ratings agency to tell us we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction," Obama said, never mentioning Standard & Poor's by name.
Obama also used the occasion to push for Congress to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. He said if these moves aren't made it could cost the United States roughly one million jobs and half a percentage point of economic growth.
"We should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible so workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers," he said.
Obama noted that the action in the bond market, which is surging, shows that the world still has faith in the United States, saying "markets continue to reaffirm our credit as among the world's best."
The president also advocated for "tax reform that will ask those that can afford it to pay their share," continuing to push for the removal of certain tax benefits for wealthy Americans that he was unable to get included in the compromise deficit-reduction legislation passed last week as part of the bill to lift the debt ceiling.
Obama also expressed his faith in the tenacity of the American people and their ability to work through this difficult economic time.
NEW YORK TheStreet
|Obama blames political impasse for continuing economic woes August 11, 2011|
Declaring himself frustrated with political
fighting in Congress, President Barack Obama
on Thursday blamed some of the nation's
continuing economic troubles on government
inaction and urged Americans to tell their
elected representatives in Washington to
pass bills that will create jobs.
In an energetic speech to workers at a Holland, Michigan, hybrid car battery plant helped by government stimulus funds, Obama said the U.S. economy and American workers are capable of being the best in the world, but were being held back by political stalemate in Congress.
CNN's Tom Cohen and Kevin Conlon
|Obama blames Congress Republicans on Bus Tour August 16, 2011|
President Barack Obama on Tuesday sought to
turn voter anger over the economy toward
Republicans in the Congress as he courted
rural Americans in a campaign-style bus tour
through a key election state.
Obama announced steps to boost hiring in farm communities, his latest effort to fight an unemployment rate which has stuck at over 9 percent despite earlier White House job initiatives.
Speaking in the key election state of Iowa, Democrat Obama portrayed Republicans as blocking progress on the economy.
"We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game," he said in Peosta, Iowa, referring to job creation measures he is pushing for in free trade, payroll taxes and road construction.
"The only thing that is holding us back is our politics. The only thing that is preventing us from passing the bills I just mentioned is the refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party, and that has to stop," Obama said. "Our economy can't afford it."
As he spoke, Texas Governor Rick Perry was a few miles to the north in Dubuque, Iowa, campaigning for the Republican nomination to run against Obama next year.
Together with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Perry has emerged as one of the leading candidates to challenge Obama in 2012.
Obama's re-election, seen by commentators as highly probable several months ago, is now less likely due to the poor economy.
Obama has traveled more than 300 miles in a bus along the back roads of the rural Midwest to press his case about the need for job creation.
He began a three-day tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois on Monday.
Public approval of Congress has sunk to record lows in recent polls and the president is taking every chance to distance himself from anger toward political gridlock back in Washington.
"America is going to come back from this recession stronger than before, that I'm convinced of, I believe that," Obama said to applause. "And I'm also convinced that comeback isn't going to be driven by Washington."
Obama won all three states in the 2008 election.
ON THE BUS
The tour, on a jet-black $1.1 million high-tech bus with blacked-out windows and flashing police lights, also exposes the president to voters who, polls suggest, are furious about gridlock in Washington.
Although he was challenged by Tea Party supporters on Monday, the crowds Obama has faced so far have been pretty friendly, and many of the questions were challenging him to take a tougher line against Republicans.
The White House says Obama is on a listening tour to hear from Americans about the economy and talk about how to boost jobs and hiring. Jobs are expected to be the central issue for voters in next year's presidential and congressional elections.
Obama has said he plans to put forward a specific plan for economic growth when Congress returns from summer recess in September.
His hands are tied by a divided Congress, where Republicans control the House of Representatives and oppose any significant spending measures to stimulate growth.
Obama is spending much of Tuesday at a rural economic forum in Iowa. He unveiled $350 million in funding for small businesses over the next 5 years -- not the big plan to be presented to Congress next month.
"These are tough times for a lot of Americans -- including those who live in our rural communities," Obama said.
By Alister Bull Reuters
|Obama Blames His Low Approval Ratings on Unhappiness With Washington August 21, 2011|
Recent public opinion polls have shown
Obama’s job approval rating at near 40
percent, the lowest of his presidency.
Obama taped the CBS‘ ’Sunday Morning” interview last Wednesday in Illinois at the end of a Midwest bus tour focused on the economy.
VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. AP
|Obama blames Bush, Europe at Democratic Fundraiser August 8, 2011|
President Barack Obama said on Monday he
inherited many of the country's problems
with high debt and deficits when he entered
the White House, sounding a theme likely to
dominate his 2012 re-election campaign.
Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser, where families paid $15,000 to get a picture with him, Obama defended his economic record and noted that problems in Europe were affecting the United States.
"We do have a serious problem in terms of debt and deficit, and much of it I inherited," Obama said. The financial crisis, he said, made the problem worse.
Democrats and Republicans agreed to a deal to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending last week, but credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States, contributing to a steep fall in stock markets on Monday.
Obama noted that the United States had seen 17 months of consecutive private-sector job growth, rising corporate profits and stabilized credit markets under his watch.
"What's absolutely true, even before these last couple days in the stock market, is that recovery wasn't happening fast enough," he said. "When you have problems in Europe and in Spain and in Italy and in Greece, those problems wash over into our shores," he said.
Some 140 people attended the fundraiser, which was held at a private home.
Obama, who is ramping up his fundraising after taking a hiatus while the debt-ceiling debate raged in Washington, said the deficit issue would provide a clear contrast for voters in the 2012 race for the White House.
"What we're going to have is 16 months in which we debate this vision for America, and it's going to be as fundamental a debate as 2008," he said.
"In some ways it may be even a more profound debate because the contrast is going to be clear and it's going to be sharp."
Obama is pressing for Congress to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance to help boost the economy, but he expressed skepticism that lawmakers would get a lot done.
"As president of the United States my job is to work with Congress to try to get as much done as possible," he said.
"Whether we're going to see any progress out of this Congress right now -- because so far we haven't seen much when it comes to innovative ideas that actually put people to work and grow the economy -- remains to be seen."
Under the debt-ceiling agreement, a "super committee" in Congress will find further ways to tackle the deficit in the coming months. Obama said on Friday he would outline his own recommendations for that committee.
At a separate event for potential campaign donors on Monday, Obama previewed what could make up those recommendations, saying revenues needed to be raised, the tax code would have to be reformed, and modest adjustments to the Medicare healthcare program would have to be enacted.
By Jeff Mason Reuters
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SurveyUSA poll shows that Hillary Clinton would defeat President Barack Obama by a 20-percentage-point margin in a head-to-head race for the presidency.
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Today President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, legislation that will extend new federal protections to people who are victims of violent crime because of their gender, sexual orientation or identity, or disability.
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