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Obama to frame 2012 as a pivotal moment for the middle class

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President Obama plans to frame 2012 — both the year and implicitly the campaign — as a “make-or-break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it” in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, according to a copy of White House talking points circulated to his supporters and obtained by The Washington Times.

“What’s at stake is the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement,” the memo states.

The president will try to make the case that keeping that promise alive is the “defining issue of our times.”

“No challenge is more urgent; no debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while more Americans barely get by. Or we can build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.”

Mr. Obama also will echo themes in recent speeches he’s made around the country and will lay out a “blueprint for an economy that’s built to last — an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.”

Other bullet points in the memo:

• The fact is, the economic security of the middle class has eroded for decades. Long before the recession, good jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Hard work stopped paying off for too many Americans. Those at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but the vast majority of Americans struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t.

• In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. Mortgages were sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks made huge bets and bonuses made with other people’s money. It was a crisis that cost us more than eight million jobs and plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover.

• The President has been clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. But under his leadership and thanks to action taken by this President, the economy is growing again. The economy has added a total of 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months.

• American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. The American auto industry is coming back. Today, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion. And the president signed into law new rules to hold Wall Street accountable. He stands on a solid record and tonight will lay out a blueprint that will ensure an economy built to last over the long term.

• For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s leadership, delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, and put that terrorist network on the path to defeat. We’ve made important progress in Afghanistan, and begun a transition so Afghans can assume more responsibility. We joined with allies and partners to protect the Libyan people as they ended the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

• We cannot go back to an economy based on outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. The president intends to keep moving forward and rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded — an economy built to last.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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