Obama Takes New Economic Plan on Tour

Posted January 25th, 2012 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama begins a three-day, five-state trip Wednesday to take to the American people the economic plan he unveiled in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The president, who faces a contentious re-election bid this year, outlined a blueprint that he says will work for everyone, not just the wealthy. Mr. Obama told a joint session of the U.S. Congress and millions of television viewers that his plans are for “an economy that’s built to last:” one built on manufacturing, energy, new skills for American workers, and what he described as “a renewal of American values.”

He warned Republican lawmakers that he will fight any effort to return to an economy that he says was “weakened by outsourcing, bad debt and phony financial profits.” The president takes his message this week to stops in the states of Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan.

In the Republican response, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said President Obama has resorted to “extremism” with what he called anti-growth policies and a plan to divide Americans rather than unite them. He said the Obama administration has sought to win favor with some Americans by castigating others, and called Mr. Obama’s policies “pro-poverty.”

In his Tuesday address, President Obama highlighted a number of foreign policy victories in the past year, including the end of the Iraq war, progress in the war in Afghanistan and the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. He also mentioned the Arab Spring movement and hope for greater freedom in Burma.

On Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the president said U.S.-led international pressure is having an effect. He said that “no options” are “off the table” in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but stressed that a peaceful resolution to the issue is still possible

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain delivered a response for the conservative Tea Party movement, which operates within the Republican party. He called Mr. Obama’s speech ” a hodgepodge of little ideas” and said what the country needs is more comprehensive reform. He criticized the country’s rising national debt and called for a balanced budget and a simpler, fairer tax code.

Lawmakers who attended the speech fell along party lines when evaluating it. Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey said Mr. Obama’s message about building the economy and creating jobs is exactly what his constituents want to hear. But Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina said the president’s economic agenda will destroy jobs by raising taxes.

Political analysts will watch closely to see what effect this address will have on Mr. Obama’s public approval ratings, which, according to the Gallup polling organization, have averaged about 44 percent this year.