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Obama: U.S. economy needs help

posted 8 Jun 2012, 14:24 by Mpelembe   [ updated 8 Jun 2012, 14:24 ]

U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.S. economy is not doing well and Congress needs to act, as he seeks to clarify comments he made in an earlier press conference.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JUNE 8, 2012) (POOL) - U.S. President Barack Obama stressed the U.S. economy is "not doing fine" on Friday (June 8), seeking to clarify his earlier comments about the private sector and accusing his Republican rivals of lacking ideas about how to stoke growth and create jobs.

"There are too many people out of work, the housing market is still weak and too many homes under water, and that's precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that could make a difference," the Democratic president said, seated next to Filipino President Benigno Aquino.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said that while corporate profits are strong and companies have been adding jobs, small businesses are having a tough time getting financing and other pockets of the economy need more attention.

He repeated his view, expressed earlier on Friday in a press conference, that budget-pinched state and local governments need help to avoid teacher and police layoffs, and that Congress should help buoy struggling homeowners and construction workers who remain out of work several years after the financial crisis.

"All those things will strengthen the economy and independent economists estimate it would create an additional million jobs," said Obama. "Now you can't give me a good reason as to why Congress would not act on these items, other than politics, because these are traditionally ideas that Democrats and Republicans have supported."

Republicans in Congress had pounced on comments Obama' made in a press conference on Friday morning that the private sector was "doing fine," and Mitt Romney, who is running against Obama for the presidency on Nov. 6, called that statement "an extraordinary miscalculation."