President Obama this afternoon took a break from trying to resolve the Mideast peace crisis to focus on the other disaster on his plate: the economy. Obama stopped by the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York and urged lawmakers to pass the jobs bill he presented earlier this month.
Speaking to an audience that included leaders from around the world, the president said his proposal, called the American Jobs Act, would not be a “silver bullet” to cure the economy entirely, but said it will put people back to work.
“It will put more money into the pockets of working people. And that’s what our economy needs right now,”he said.
Obama said American growth could support a global recovery.
“This morning at the United Nations I talked about the concerted action the world needs to take right now to right our economic ship. But we have to remember America is still the biggest economy in the world. So the single most important thing we can do for the global economy is to get our own economy moving again,” he said.
Obama praised his predecessor and the host of the event, former President Bill Clinton, as the “do-gooder in chief” and held up his economic policies in the 1990s as an example of what is needed.
“When he was president, he did not cut our way out of prosperity; he grew our way to prosperity. We didn’t shortchange essential investments or balance the budget on the backs of the middle class or the poor. We were able to live within our means, invest in our future and ask everybody to pay their fair share,” Obama said, recalling the prosperity of the decade.
“That’s the kind of nation that we’ve got to work to build again. It will take time to the kind of crisis that we’ve endured — and this is a once-in-a-generation crisis. But we can get through it. But our politics right now is not doing us any favors,” he added.
The president underscored the need to improve American education by hiring more teachers and outlined a vision for the future.
“I don’t want a small, cramped vision of what America can be. We want a big and generous vision of what America can be. And the world is inspired when we have that vision. And by the way, that vision is not a Democratic vision or a Republican idea. These are not ideas that belong to one political party or another. They are the things a rising nation does, and the thing that retreating nations don’t do. And we are not a retreating nation,” he said.