Obama challenged Republicans who contend that his government is “bloated,” saying that his administration has created private-sector jobs even as public hiring remains sluggish. He contrasted that to his Republican predecessors, who he said increased government hiring as part of their economic recoveries.
“I made this point so you don’t buy into this whole bloated-government argument,” he said.
Pressuring Congress, President Barack Obama is laying out an election year "to do" list Tuesday that urges lawmakers to take another look at economic proposals to promote job creation and help families refinance their mortgages.
Wrapping up his speech, Obama ad-libbed two more items, demanding that Congress not allow federally subsidized student loan interest rates to double this summer and to approve a transportation bill that would provide funding for construction projects. The Senate defeated a measure Tuesday that would have kept the low rates for another year.
House Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the president should instead press Senate Democrats to pass a budget: “How can you continue to run a business or a country with no budget? Three years in a row, a trillion-dollar deficit year over year and no budget.”
The trip marked a rare recent venture for the president into a state that is not an electoral battleground, but New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, one of the nation’s most popular Democratic governors, joined him at the event. And Obama is eager to appeal to working-class voters in the Northeast and the Rust Belt.
In his introductory remarks, Cuomo lauded the president and New York’s economic turnaround and even employed Obama’s campaign slogan, “Forward.”
“Mr. President, I can promise you this: Because of your leadership, this state is not going backward, this state is going forward,” Cuomo said to applause.
The White House initially was going to send Obama to Asheville, N.C., but scuttled that plan two weeks ago and announced that he would instead speak in Albany. The Raleigh News & Observer noted Tuesday that North Carolina was holding a vote on a controversial amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Obama has not supported such unions, saying his views are “evolving,” a position that has drawn heat from liberal supporters.
Staff writer Ed O’Keefe in Washington contributed to this report.