Obama touts economic plans on campaign odyssey

By Patricia Zengerle

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wisc. (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama criss-crossed the United States on Monday touting his economic stimulus policies and slamming rival Republicans as he campaigned for Democrats fighting to keep control of the U.S. Congress in November’s elections.

At a stop at a battery plant in Wisconsin he sought to convince voters he can ease high unemployment and has a plan to fix a slowing economy in which fears of a double-dip recession have grown recently.

Obama took aim at Republicans, whom he said seek to turn back the clock by resisting his administration’s efforts to bolster the sagging economy.

“These are the same folks in Washington who made the political calculation that it was better to stand on the sidelines than work as a team to help the American worker,” Obama said.

“They said ‘no’ to small business tax cuts, ‘no’ to rebuilding infrastructure, ‘no’ to clean energy projects. They even voted against getting rid of tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.”

“We expect our commitment to clean energy to lead to more than 800,000 jobs by 2012,” he told a small crowd at ZBB Energy Corp., a maker of high-tech batteries. Obama’s plans to revive U.S. manufacturing includes offering economic incentives to domestic producers of clean-energy products.

The factory stop was the first on a cross-country odyssey that will also take Obama to California, Washington, Ohio and Florida in three days for a series of fundraisers for Democrats running in the mid-terms.

Obama traveled from ZBB to central Milwaukee, where he spoke at a fund-raiser for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is running to be the next governor of Wisconsin.

The Democrats’ chances in November are complicated by Obama’s approval ratings — which hover in the mid- to lower-40 percent range — and fears that the economic recovery may peter out and the country may slip back into recession.

A sharp widening in the U.S. trade deficit forced economists to revise down estimates for second-quarter growth, indicating the slowdown has come more quickly than pessimists expected.

Steadfast weakness in housing, along with a stubbornly high unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, were among factors that led the U.S. Federal Reserve last week to offer more monetary stimulus to the economy.

The Fed said it will funnel cash from maturing mortgage-backed securities it acquired during the financial crisis into further purchases of Treasury bonds in an effort to keep long-term rates low and spur more lending.

(Editing by Alan Elsner)

Obama touts economic plans on campaign odyssey