UPDATE 2-Obama says his economic policies halted ‘bleeding’

* Previews big push on economy ahead of November vote

* Will travel to Ohio to unveil plans for boosting jobs

* White House says proposals not a stimulus package

* Obama weighing $35 bln tax cuts for businesses – report

* Research tax credit may be expanded, made permanent
(Updates with New York Times report on research tax credit)

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON, Sept 4 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama,
previewing a big push on the U.S. economy next week, on
Saturday defended policies that he said “have stopped the
bleeding” and put the middle class on the road to recovery.

Obama, struggling to bring down the 9.6 percent jobless
rate, is to spend next week talking up proposals on improving
the economy.

He hopes to gain some traction with impatient voters as
they ponder whether to toss out his Democrats in the Nov. 2
congressional elections.

In his weekly radio and Web address, Obama pointed to
measures funded by the Democrats’ $814 billion economic
stimulus as responsible for halting the economic slide he faced
when taking office in January 2009.

This includes spending on roads and bridges and money given
to local governments to avert layoffs of teachers, firefighters
and police officers.

“The steps we have taken to date have stopped the
bleeding,” Obama said. “But strengthening our economy means
more than that.”

Other steps, he said, were aimed at helping the middle
class, citing a portion of his U.S. healthcare overhaul that
stopped insurance companies from refusing to cover people with
pre-existing health conditions.

Obama is trying to convince Americans that Democratic
policies offer the best economic future for them as he seeks to
turn back a strong challenge from Republicans for control of
the U.S. House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.

Obama is to visit a labor rally in Milwaukee on Monday, the
Labor Day holiday, and then is to lay out targeted proposals to
boost job growth when he visits Cleveland on Wednesday. A
presidential news conference is planned on Friday at the White
House.

A number of options are likely, such as extending middle
class tax cuts, investing in clean energy, spending more on
infrastructure, and delivering more tax cuts to businesses to
encourage hiring.

RESEARCH TAX CREDIT

The New York Times reported late Saturday that Obama will
ask Congress to increase and permanently extend a tax credit
for business research expenses and pay for the program, which
would cost up to $100 billion over 10 years, by closing other
corporate tax breaks.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the newspaper said
Obama will outline the proposal in a speech in Cleveland. The
White House chose the venue in part to draw a contrast with a
recent economic address there by Ohio Representative John
Boehner, the House Republican leader.

The research credit, which has existed in some form since
1981, would be expanded under the Obama plan, the Times said.
The simpler of two credit options available to business would
be increased to 17 percent from 14 percent, it said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that the Obama
administration was moving toward using revenue that would be
generated after the expiration of existing tax cuts for
upper-income people to finance about $35 billion of tax cuts
targeted at small businesses and lower-income workers.

A White House spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, declined to
comment on the Journal report.

The White House is careful to say these proposals do not
add up to a second stimulus package, given voters’ anxiety
about the country’s record budget deficit.

Democrats are to kick off their autumn effort to hang on to
Congress on Wednesday when Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine
delivers a speech in Philadelphia that the party said will
frame the choice for voters.

Kaine will “explain the choice the American people have in
front of them — a choice between Democrats, who are moving
America forward and Republicans, who want to take us back to
the failed policies of the past that brought our economy to the
brink of collapse,” a party statement said.

Republicans said Democratic policies are responsible for
the sagging economy.

“This administration claimed its economic policies would
keep unemployment under 8 percent, cut the deficit and turn our
economy around. Instead, the unemployment rate is nearing 10
percent, the debt is exploding and we’ve lost hundreds of
thousands of jobs over the summer months,” said Senate
Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
(Additional reporting by Todd Eastham; editing by Mohammad
Zargham and Eric Beech)

UPDATE 2-Obama says his economic policies halted ‘bleeding’