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Obama Campaigns For His Economic Agenda

  • Kent Klein

US President Barack Obama answers questions during a town hall meeting, 02 Feb 2010 at Nashua North High School in Nashua, New Hampshire

US President Barack Obama answers questions during a town hall meeting, 02 Feb 2010 at Nashua North High School in Nashua, New Hampshire

U.S. President Barack Obama has again gone on the road to try to persuade Americans to support his economic agenda. The president is campaigning for his plan to encourage hiring.

President Obama visited the Northeastern state of New Hampshire on Tuesday, to promote a plan he hopes will help ease the nation's ten percent unemployment rate.

Mr. Obama says money repaid by large banks that received government help should be lent to small businesses, where he says most of America's job creation takes place.

"I am announcing a proposal to take $30 billion of the money that was repaid by Wall Street banks-now that they are back on their feet - take that $30 billion and use it to create a new small business lending fund that would provide capital for community banks on Main Street," said President Obama.

As Mr. Obama admitted in last week's State of the Union address, the federal bailout of big financial institutions has been unpopular. But he says it was necessary to prevent the U.S. financial system from collapsing.

That program, plus stubborn unemployment, are among the factors in the president's sagging approval ratings and victories by the opposition Republican Party in several recent elections.

At a public forum in New Hampshire, Mr. Obama said he shares Americans' frustration with persistent joblessness.

"I have got to be honest with you-there is no magic wand that makes the economic problems that were years in the making disappear overnight," said Mr. Obama. "And sometimes it is easy for politicians to exploit the anger and the pain that people are feeling right now."

The president addressed Republican opposition to his policies. He appealed for lawmakers from both parties to work together for the good of the country, while also blasting some Republicans as being willing to take positions simply for political gain.

"It is one thing to have an honest difference of opinion on something," said President Obama. "There is nothing wrong with that. But you cannot walk away from your responsibilities to confront the challenges facing the country because you do not think it is good short-term politics."

New Hampshire is the scene of the first primary election of each presidential campaign season, and one of its two Senate seats will be up for election this November.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama's proposed government budget is being criticized by lawmakers from both parties. Republicans say it does not address deficits soon enough and raises taxes too much. Democrats are questioning some of the president's proposed spending cuts.