Share this article

print logo

In State of the Union, Obama to talk of jobs and U.S. innovation

Under pressure to energize the economy, President Obama said Saturday he will use his State of the Union address to outline an agenda to create jobs now and boost American competitiveness over the long term.

Obama is expected to use Tuesday's prime-time speech to promote spending on innovation while also promising to reduce the national debt and cooperate with Republicans emboldened by their takeover of the House and their increase in Senate seats in last fall's election.

"I'm focused on making sure the economy is working for everybody, for the entire American family," Obama said Saturday in an uncommon preview of his speech, offered in an online video to his supporters.

At the halfway point of his term, Obama said the economy is on firmer footing than it was two years ago: It is growing again, albeit slowly, while the stock market is rising, and corporate profits are climbing.

But with the unemployment rate stubbornly stuck above 9 percent, Obama will signal a shift Tuesday from short-term stabilization policies toward ones focused on job creation and longer-term growth.

He offered no details on specific proposals he will call for in his address, though he has offered hints in recent weeks.

Last month in North Carolina, Obama said that making the U.S. more competitive means investing in a more educated work force, committing more to research and technology, and improving everything from highways and airports to high-speed Internet.

In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama also highlighted free trade as a way to increase U.S. exports and put Americans to work.

"That's how we'll create jobs today," Obama said. "That's how we'll make America more competitive tomorrow. And that's how we'll win the future."

He said getting access to foreign markets is the reason he met with China's President Hu Jintao last week at the White House.

During the summit, China announced $45 billion in contracts and said it would increase its investments in the U.S. by several billion dollars -- deals that Obama said will support 235,000 American jobs.

In his preview to supporters Saturday, Obama also said he would emphasize fiscal restraint Tuesday, but he didn't go into detail, saying only that any spending cuts should be done in a "responsible way."

Obama will speak Tuesday to a Congress changed both by Republican wins in the November election and the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., two weeks ago during an event in her district in Tucson.

Since then, the president has appealed for more civility in politics, and in a nod to that idea, some Democrats and Republicans will break with tradition and sit alongside each other in the House chamber Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Republicans devoted their weekly Saturday message to the party's promise to repeal the landmark health care law Obama signed last year. That effort got under way when the House voted 253-175 last week to wipe it off the books. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Speaking for Republicans, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming called for a vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he will not schedule one.

"Thanks to the vote in the House of Representatives, we are now one step closer to victory in the fight for a health care policy that puts Americans first -- not Washington," said Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon. "Our job won't be done until we repeal and replace this bad law."

There are no comments - be the first to comment