- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

President Obama took his economic sales pitch on the road again Tuesday, defending his record and deriding critics of his $862 billion stimulus package before a crowd in Youngstown, Ohio.

“Despite all the naysayers in Washington who are always looking for the cloud around every silver lining, the fact is our economy is growing again,” he said in a speech following a tour of V&M Star, a local tubing manufacturer.

Mr. Obama touted last month’s addition of 290,000 jobs, which he credited to Democratic policies such as the spending and tax cuts in the stimulus bill.

Again and again throughout his brief remarks, he took aim at Republicans and suggested the GOP would have preferred to do nothing had they been in the majority.

“If the just-say-no crowd had won out, if we had done things the way they wanted to go, we’d be in a deeper world of hurt,” he said, acknowledging that some of his decisions were unpopular. He also blasted Republicans who voted against the stimulus bill but celebrated projects funded by it in their districts.

But despite four months of job growth, the national unemployment rate remains high and even climbed one-tenth of a percent last month to 9.9 percent — a reality that Republicans continue to highlight.

“The fact that the president has come to cheerlead the ‘stimulus’ in a city where unemployment is 15.1 percent demonstrates just how out of touch Washington Democrats are with the harsh realities many communities are facing today,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “During this time of hardship, the last thing the people of the Mahoning Valley need is more of the president’s job-killing agenda that is only making matters worse.”

Though Mr. Obama started the year by saying he would focus chiefly on jobs, several other priorities, including health care and a swath of international issues, have eaten up much of the president’s time over the past few months. But he has made a point to travel across the country to visit local firms and give remarks on the economy, and held a similar event last week at a manufacturer in Buffalo, N.Y.



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