Obama: I Can't Fix Our Economy Alone

(CBS)
President Obama's prime focus in 2010 will be jobs, he said today at a New Hampshire town hall meeting, but he said he cannot implement his proposals for economic growth without Republican support.

"I won't rest until businesses are hiring again, and wages are rising again, and the middle class is thriving again, and we've finally got an economy that works for all Americans," President Obama said at Nashua High School North in Nashua, New Hampshire. "But here's the thing: I can't do this alone. Democrats can't do this alone, the president can't do this alone. We've got two parties in this country."

The president was there to unveil his plan to take $30 billion of the bailout money repaid by Wall Street banks and give it to local banks, so they can give loans to small businesses.

"These are the small, local banks that work most closely with our small businesses," the president said, "that provide them their first loan, and watch them grow through good times and bad."

The more loans the local banks give to creditworthy small businesses, the better a deal they would get on the capital from this fund, Mr. Obama said. He highlighted the other steps he has proposed to help small businesses, such as creating a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as eliminating capital gains taxes on small business investment.

"We need to make it easier for them to open their doors, expand their operations and hire more workers," he said.

The president said Washington will also have to reduce deficits that could "damage our markets now, drive up our interest rates now and jeopardize our recovery right now." He lamented the Senate's rejection of his proposal for a bipartisan deficit task force to tackle the issue.

"This law failed when by seven votes when seven Republicans who co-sponsored the bill -- had co-sponsored the idea --suddenly walked away from their own proposal after I endorsed it," Mr. Obama said. "Now, it's one thing to have an honest difference of opinion on something. There's nothing wrong with that. It's another to walk away from your responsibilities to confront the challenges facing this country because you think it's good short-term politics."

Along with his economic recovery plans, the president promoted his ideas for education reform like upgrading community colleges and making college more affordable. He also touted investments in clean energy technology.

"These are key parts of the foundation we need to build a better future for our families and our country," Mr. Obama said.

"And so is fixing a health insurance system that too often works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people," he added. "So I won't walk away from these efforts... And I don't think Congress should either. I think we should keep working to get this done – Democrats and Republicans together."

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