Obama addresses economy, European crisis


US President Barack Obama speaks to the media on June 8, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama addressed the eurozone crisis and its impact on the United States while urging Congress to pass a string of bills designed to help grow the economy and create more jobs.



President Barack Obama addressed the state of the economy on Friday, in remarks at the White House, according to the Associated Press.

Obama called on Congress to pass proposals which would put construction workers, teachers and first responders back to work, according to the AP.

He reminded Congress of the $447 billion Jobs Act which he stressed was not just his plan or a Democratic plan, but one backed by independent, non-partisan economists.

He said, "We could be putting a lot of people back to work building our roads and bridges," and also proposed ideas for Congress such as letting homeowners refinance their mortgages, and offering tax breaks to small businesses for hiring people.

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Obama also addressed the impact that the European crisis could have on the recovery of the American economy, saying that though American banks were now better equipped to deal with the blows from the banking crisis, it could still slow down job creation in the US.

"Even if we're not directly hit, if Europe goes into recession, that means we're selling fewer goods and fewer services," he said, reminding the press conference that Europe is America's biggest market.

Obama said he had been in constant contact with European leadership over the eurozone crisis, discussing how to enact fiscal reform while encouraging growth and job creation. He added, "Their success is good for us."

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It has been a tough few weeks for the Obama campaign, and last week the discouraging jobs report for May showed that the unemployment rate had risen to 8.2 percent, according to Reuters, fueling fears that the recovery might be slowing down.

The European debt crisis, which Obama said was more complicated than simply a "debt crisis," will take center stage at the G20 summit in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico later this month, according to ABC News.

The US economy slowed from an annual growth rate of 3.0 percent in the last quarter of 2011 to 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Agence France Presse.

The economy will likely be the largest issue in the upcoming presidential elections, when Obama faces Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Republicans were quick to pounce on one statement in Obama's speech when he said, "The private sector is doing fine," noted NPR. They took to the airwaves and to social media to voice their disagreement.

Obama, while speaking to reporters after the Republican backlash, clarified that "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine," according to Reuters.

"That’s why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this past month and this past year talking about how we can make the economy stronger. The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak, too many homes underwater and that’s precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that can make a difference," he said, according to Politico.

Here is a selection of tweets and a new ad from the RNC:

[View the story "President Obama's economy speech spurs Republican reaction" on Storify]

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In Business, Economics and JobsEconomicsMiscellaneousAgence France Presse.

Tagged: United States.