President Obama sought today to shift blame for the bumpy economy to congressional Republicans, saying too many of them are "standing in the way" of recovery.
"Either they say they want to do nothing ... or they want to double down on some of the policies that didn't work and got us into this mess in the first place," Obama told workers in Iowa, citing in particular proposed tax cuts for the wealthy.
Ticking off another item on his congressional "To Do List," Obama called for an extension of tax credits for clean energy projects during a visit to a wind turbine plant in Newton.
Obama's visit to Iowa, the state that launched his successful presidential campaign in 2008, capped a two-day cross-country trip devoted mostly to campaign fundraising. The president, who also visited Colorado and California, had another campaign event planned for Thursday night in Des Moines.
Republicans said Obama's policies have slowed the economy's comeback from the financial meltdown of 2008, citing the health care law, new regulations on businesses, and ever-rising federal debt.
"Americans are stuck with unemployment over 8% for the longest stretch since the Great Depression," said Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa.
The frequent standoff between Obama and congressional Republicans over spending and taxes will play a prominent role in this year's election.
During his speech in Newton, Obama recited the five items on his congressional "To Do List," including: Eliminating tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, tax breaks for companies that hire more workers, easing rules on mortgage re-financing, and creation of a "Veterans Jobs Corps."
Obama spent most of his time on the fifth point, renewal of clean energy tax credits slated to expire at the end of the year. He told employees of the wind turbine plant that things like wind power, solar power and electric cars will help the nation reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
Refusal to renew the tax credits will stall the growth of the clean energy industry, Obama told workers: "If Congress doesn't act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost."
The financial crisis crippled the nation, and "it's going to take some time for the economy to fully recover," Obama said. He said the items on his list can help "speed up this recovery," and "we shouldn't wait for an election to get this done."
Obama won the Democratic caucuses in Iowa to start the 2008 campaign, and later took the state in the general election that November. The president said today's visit "brought back memories -- of a lot of driving."