Obama Takes Economic Recovery Plan To Ohio President Obama travels to Cleveland Wednesday to outline his plan to get the economy moving again. White House officials are clear about why they picked Cleveland: Because House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio was there touting the GOP.
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Obama Takes Economic Recovery Plan To Ohio

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Obama Takes Economic Recovery Plan To Ohio

Obama Takes Economic Recovery Plan To Ohio

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Im Steve Inskeep.


And Im Linda Wertheimer.

When President Obama visits Cleveland today, he's visiting a battleground in the 2010 election. His party faces tough races for the Senate and for governor. It's also the location of several tight races in the House.

INSKEEP: Democrats go into those fights and others across the country, knowing that nationwide survey show the public turning against them. And in a moment, we'll talk with the president's senior advisor, David Axelrod.

WERTHEIMER: We'll begin with NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro.

ARI SHAPIRO: Cleveland is getting it from both directions. Two weeks ago, House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio, used the City Club of Cleveland as the backdrop for this economic speech.

Represent JOHN BOEHNER (R-Ohio, Minority Leader): You know, I've had enough, and I think the American people have had enough of politicians in Washington talking about wanting to create jobs, as a ploy to get themselves reelected, while doing everything possible to prevent jobs from being created here in our country.

SHAPIRO: He gave a glimpse of what the future holds if Republicans take back the House in November.

Rep. BOEHNER: Right now, America's employers are afraid to invest in an economy that's stalled by stimulus spending and hamstrung by uncertainty.

SHAPIRO: That speech apparently got under the White House's skin. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president chose Cleveland for today's event because it was the site of Boehner's speech.

Mr. ROBERT GIBBS (Press Secretary, White House): If you look back at what Congressman Boehner said in that speech, he seemed to lay out a strong predicate for the very same type of decisions that had been made over the past 10 years that got us into this mess.

SHAPIRO: The meat of the president's speech today is three economic proposals. According to an administration official who previewed the event yesterday, the president will repeat his call for repairing the country's roads, train tracks, and airport runways. He'll describe a proposal to spur growth by increasing tax deductions for American companies that make capital investments. And he'll ask Congress to expand a tax credit for companies doing research and development.

Laura Tyson is a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. On Sunday she told CBS's "Face the Nation" that the emphasis on research and development is not new for this president.

Dr. LAURA TYSON (Member, President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board): In fact, you know, an important part of the stimulus that people don't talk about is really the support for continuing research and development. That's where U.S. competitiveness lies in high technology industries. We know that the R&D tax credit is an important credit that does affect how much R&D spending business does. And business counts for something like two-thirds of all R&D spending in the United States.

SHAPIRO: But she said people hoping for a quick boost in hiring from this policy may be disappointed.

Dr. TYSON: I don't think this is something that has an immediate, as immediate a job impact as, say, movement on the current tax credits for the unemployed or extending a payroll tax holiday of some sort. But I think it's very important in terms of job creation over the longer term.

SHAPIRO: President Obama's practice in all of his recent economic speeches has been to slather the meat of the policy with a thick political gravy.

In Milwaukee on Monday, he laid the blame for the country's current economic problems in the lap of the Republican Party.

President BARACK OBAMA: I mean think about it. We have tried what they're peddling. We did it for 10 years. We ended up with the worst economy since the 1930s...

(Soundbite of applause)

President OBAMA: ...and record deficits to boot.

SHAPIRO: White House officials have strongly suggested that they don't actually expect Congress to enact these policies before November. Campaign schedules and political gridlock make that nearly impossible.

But the message from both parties remains: We can fix this, just give us another chance.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House.

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