Why Obama is seeking to merge agencies

President Barack Obama speaks at a rally
President Barack Obama speaks at a rally to help raise money for his re-election campaign on January 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Tickets for the event ranged from $44 to $1,000 for seating in the VIP section. The president also paid a visit to his campaign headquarters during his short visit to the city.
Getty Images/Scott Olson

President Obama wants Congress to let him shrink the federal government.

What's behind the request?

Everything that's done here is eventually political. He's taking on the sprawling growth of government. And that is something that resonates with many Americans.

Obama seeks power to shrink federal government

But this time, he can't do it alone using executive action. He needs Congress to give him the go ahead.

He wants to shrink government by merging six trade and commerce agencies because their programs overlap. This move would cut a 1,000 or 2,000 jobs, but not all at once, and the idea is that it would save $3 billion over 10 years by getting rid of duplications.

The White House figures this will resonate with many small business people and, by doing this, he takes on the dreaded bureaucracy and says, "I'm going to slay that dragon for you."

Watch Bill Plante's take on Obama's request above.

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent