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Obama Says Jobs, Competitiveness Will be Focus of His State of the Union

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President Obama gave supporters a preview of his State of the Union address Saturday, outlining a strategy to "win the future" by focusing on the rebuilding of America's economy and making it more competitive in the world.

In a video sent to members of Organizing for America, the grassroots successor to the 2008 group put together for his presidential campaign, Obama spoke of a country that was recovering from "as tough as anything we've gone through since the Great Depression," but said there was "a lot more work to do" to help the millions of Americans still reeling from the economic downturn.

The economy when I first was coming in was contracting rapidly," Obama said. "We lost millions of jobs. Businesses were shuttered and I think a lot of people were worried about the future."

"Two years later we're in a different place," he said. "An economy that was shrinking is now growing again. We've created more than a million jobs over the last year the stock market is back up and corporate profits are healthy again. So, we've made progress, but as all of you know from talking to friends and neighbors and seeing what's happening in your communities, we've still go a lot more work to do."

Obama said: "The fact of the matter is we've got millions of our fellow Americans who are out there struggling every day, don't have a job or haven't seen a raise in a long time, paycheck is shrinking at a time when costs are going up. And so, my principal focus, my number one focus, is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing and we are creating jobs, not just now but well into the future and that's what is going to be the main topic of the State of the Union."

Obama's emphasis on the economy is in sharp contrast to his priority at this time last year, which was passing health care reform. Some polls have suggested that the drive to win approval of health care, which consumed the White House and Congress for many months, cost Obama and the Democrats support at a time when unemployment was an increasing concern for many Americans.

In recent weeks, Obama has signaled in other ways his intention to focus on the economy by naming former Commerce Secretary William Daley, who has close ties to the business community, as his new chief of staff, and tapping Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric, to head a presidential advisory panel on jobs and competitiveness.

Obama said in his video the country has to confront the huge deficit and debt load it has built up, but gave no further indication of his strategy for doing so, other than saying that it needed to be accomplished in a "responsible way."

He said the nation was up to the challenge of making sure the "economy is working for everybody" and increasing America's competitiveness "as long as we're willing to find common ground even as we're having some very vigorous debates."

"That's what built this country, that's what we're all about, and that's what it's going to take to win the future." he said.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took note of the signals about the direction of administration that Obama has been sending recently, saying, "The president obviously got the message from the November election ... Hiring Bill Daley ... this competitiveness appointment the other day of Jeff Immelt. All of this is an effort to kind of retool image. Look, I think that's fine. He ran as a moderate. I'd like for him to govern as a moderate."

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AZ Stang

So what does a democrat do when he 'says' he wants to create jobs? Appoints a jobs czar and a committee to oversee job vreation. Then we'll need another committee to review what the first committee came up with, and another committee to discuss making it happen. Not actually make it happen; just discuss it. There you go- a bunch of jobs created out of thin air.

January 25 2011 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AZ Stang

Yeah- NOW jobs are important all of a sudden? After two years of democrats controlling both houses, spending trillions on bail outs (which were kept by the controllers, not spent),and shoving socialist health care down our throats (against the will of the American people). Now We the People have a voice in congress again. And only NOW are jobs a concern...

January 25 2011 at 8:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The real deal is that neither the republicans nor the democrats have a clue on WHAT to do.

How many people do any of you actual know who have created jobs? Not many.

And what do the dems and reps do... put every possible obstacle in the way.

What are these obstacles compared to lets say China?

OSHA, EPA, APHIS, DOT, shall I keep going?

January 25 2011 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

President OBAMA has made this country far better, ended the war in Iraq, prevented a depression, health care reform and health care for 30 million people, ETC. President Obama will continue to implement change and progress to get this country strong once again.

January 25 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

fpfp0404084:14 PM Jan 24, 2011
The stock market is way up since Obama became president , it is up over 100 points today. That is not hyperbole or empty rhetoric - that is a FACT ! Plus, Obama averted a major depression and saved millions of jobs ( ie at GM and all the many thousands who have jobs indirectly because of GM,) - these are just facts.
The DOW was up over 14,000 when Bush was President and unemployment was around 5% during most of his term. Obama, after spending nearly a trillion dollars on a "stimulus" bill, unemployment increased by more than 2% and has remained above 9% for two years. The housing market is still in the toilet, the dollar is devalued, and inflation is creeping in. THESE are facts...

January 24 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

Just more hyperbole and empty rhetoric without results. Aren't you tiring of it?..

January 24 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rob & Kathy's comment

The stock market is way up since Obama became president , it is up over 100 points today. That is not hyperbole or empty rhetoric - that is a FACT ! Plus, Obama averted a major depression and saved millions of jobs ( ie at GM and all the many thousands who have jobs indirectly because of GM,) - these are just facts.

January 24 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

jjjohnblack4444:35 PM Jan 23, 2011
(19) vote this comment up (8) vote this comment down Rob & Kathy12:24 PM Jan 23, 2011 Didn't Obama say that during the presidential campaign?...Focus on Jobs?.....................Gee I kind of remember Bohner saying the same thing since 2010 so Mr Bohner where are the jobs?
What does Boehner have to do with Obama's continued failures? Boehner hasn't been President for the last two years...

January 24 2011 at 2:57 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

The stock market is way up ( over 100 points today !) THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA

January 24 2011 at 2:33 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

I do not see the job market in this country improving until our government tightens up on all the legislation they refuse to enforce and tighten up on the trade regulations that have killed US manufacturing.
1. The US government should turn the problems with companies hiring illegals over to the states they are better equipped and have the local man power to insect and monitor the problem. There needs to be an increase in fines and penalties for companies that hire illegals. If you take the jobs away from the illegals coming into this country they would stop coming.
2 Stop free trade and refuse any product that is a copy of an American invention that has American manufacturer protection rights.Why should I bother to open a company that invents manufactures a product if the Chinese can get there hands on it a make the same item then ship it here without taxes to be sold for less then I can make it for. Very few countries want what we make but they want to shove their crap down our throats.
3.As for jobs there are jobs available but people do not want them for the salary they pay. Sorry it is called supply and demand. With all the people out of work a company does not have to pay what it used to for help. This problem could be corrected by filling those jobs and getting rid of the illegals. As unemployment numbers drop incomes will rise. Again supply and demand. Once I hire you and the number of people to pick from becomes less I have to offer more to keep you from leaving and steal someone that is qualified from another company.
4. The largest correction to our jobs problem lies at our governments feet. They need to correct the illegals problem and start taxing imports to compete with US made goods. That includes items being made by US companies and then shipping finished products back to the US.
Pass hard nose legislation on these items and then watch how fast the unemployment numbers drop along with the deficit due to the increased tax revenues. They would have more then enough income without raising anyone's taxes and they could even afford to give tax breaks to those companies that do move their operations back on US soil.

January 24 2011 at 12:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

We have 12 million illegal aliens in this country. Every job they hold is a job taken from an American citizen...

January 24 2011 at 11:45 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Rob & Kathy's comment

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