Obama: War savings should be devoted to middle class, debt

President Barack Obama delivers a speech from Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 2, 2012.
AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque

(CBS News) In his weekly video address, President Barack Obama said money saved from winding down the war in Afghanistan should be used, in part, to "strengthen the middle class."

Highlighting his trip to Afghanistan and the partnership agreement signed between the two countries earlier in the week, the president said, "It is time to focus on nation building here at home."

"As a new greatest generation returns from overseas, we must ask ourselves, what kind of country will they come back to?" Mr. Obama asked. "Will it be a country where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules - a country with opportunity worthy of the troops who protect us?"

"I don't think we should prioritize things like more tax cuts for millionaires while cutting the kinds of investments that built a strong middle class," said the president.

Mr. Obama added: "That's why I've called on Congress to take the money we're no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the other half to rebuild America."

"We've got more jobs to create. More students to educate. More clean energy to generate. More entrepreneurs with the next great idea, just looking for their shot at success," the president said.

Also on Saturday, Mr. Obama kicks off his reelection campaign at colleges in Ohio and Virginia, two states important to the president's reelection.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.