Factbox: Highlights from Obama’s news conference

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama held a news conference on Friday at the White House. Following are some of the highlights from the question-and-answer session:

ON THE ECONOMY AND HIS ECONOMIC PROPOSALS

“Even though the economy is growing again and we’ve added more than 750,000 private sector jobs this year, the hole the recession left was huge and progress has been painfully slow. Millions of Americans are still looking for work. Millions of families are struggling to pay their bills or the mortgage. And so these proposals are meant to both accelerate job growth in the short term and strengthen the economy in the long run.

ON LEGISLATION TO BOOST SMALL BUSINESS

“I understand there’s an election coming up, but the American people didn’t send us here to think about our jobs. They sent us here to think about theirs. And there are small businesses right now who are putting off plans to hire more workers because this bill is stalled.”

ON WHETHER NEW ECONOMIC PROPOSALS ARE AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS

“There is no doubt that everything we’ve been trying to do is designed to stimulate growth and additional jobs in the economy. That’s our entire agenda.”

ON EXTENDING BUSH-ERA TAX CUTS

“I have said that middle class families need tax relief right now, and I’m prepared to work on a bill and sign a bill this month that would ensure middle class families get tax relief.”

“What I’ve got is the Republicans holding middle-class tax relief hostage because they’re insisting we’ve got to give tax relief to millionaires and billionaires to the tune of about $100,000 per millionaire, which would cost, over the course of 10 years, $700 billion — and that, economists say, is probably the worst way to stimulate the economy.”

ON DEMOCRAT PARTY CHANCES IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS

“If it was just a referendum on whether we’ve made the kind of progress that we need to, then people around the country would say, ‘We’re not there yet.’ If the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that will get us back into a mess, then I think the Democrats will do very well.”

“If you want the same kind of skewed policies that led us to this crisis, then the Republicans are ready to offer that. But if you want policies that are moving us out, even though you may be frustrated, even though change is not happening as fast as you like, then I think democrats are going to do fine in November.”

ON U.S. RELIGIOUS TENSION AND THE SEPT. 11 ANNIVERSARY

“I think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing that is best in us — a belief in tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are. … I want to make sure this country retains that sense of purpose.”

“As somebody who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand passions that religious faith can raise, but I’m also respectful that people of different faiths … are still good people. They are my neighbors, they are my friends, they are fighting alongside us in our battles. And I want to make sure this country retains that sense of purpose. And tomorrow is a wonderful day for us to remind ourselves.”

(Reporting by John Whitesides, Richard Cowan, Patricia Zengerle, Andy Sullivan, Kristin Roberts, Kim Dixon and David Alexander)

Factbox: Highlights from Obama’s news conference