2ND LD: Obama says economic recovery 'painfully slow,' blames Republicans
Friday, September 10, 2021 6:32 PM

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WASHINGTON, Sep. 10, 2010 (Kyodo News International) --
(Editors: UPDATING)

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. economy is moving in the right direction though progress has been ''painfully slow,'' while blaming Republicans for the current tough economic conditions.

''The policies that we have out in place have moved us in the right direction, and the policies that the Republicans are offering right now are the exact policies that got us into this mess,'' Obama told a press conference at the White House.

Obama appears confident about a victory for the Democrats in the November midterm election if economic issues dominate the election campaign.

''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,'' he said.

Highlighting differences with the Republicans, he vowed to push for permanent tax breaks for middle-class families and small businesses and take steps to boost domestic investment.

''I'm prepared to work on a bill and sign a bill this month that would ensure that middle-class families get tax relief,'' Obama said.

Noting that policies adopted by Republicans reduced taxes for millionaires and cut regulations for special interest groups, Obama said such policies led to a recent financial crisis and a recession the country is ''still digging out of today.''

Asked about U.S. government plans to help poor families, the president said his administration was focused on ''broad-based job growth'' and ''broad-based economic expansion.''

Earlier this week, Obama unveiled additional stimulus steps totaling $350 billion centering on tax breaks for capital investment and research and development by firms in the United States.

The press conference was held on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and Obama faced some politically sensitive questions from reporters.

Obama reiterated his resolve to continue fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and said that capturing or killing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden or senior fellow members is ''extremely important'' to U.S. national security.

The ongoing antiterrorism war will ''take some time'' but the United States will be able to ultimately prevail, he said.

Obama also condemned a plan, eventually cancelled, by a Florida-based pastor to burn the Quran, saying such a move could endanger U.S. troops and American citizens.

''The idea that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else's religion is contrary to what this country stands for. It's contrary to what this nation was founded on.''

On the other hand, Obama stressed that the United States is not at war against Islam but ''at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts.''

The president also said he sees no problem in building a mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center, dubbed Ground Zero, amid rising controversy over the construction plan.

''If you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site,'' he said, citing freedom of religion under the Constitution.

''We are not going to be divided by religion; we're not going to be divided by ethnicity,'' Obama said. ''We are all Americans.''

The president added, ''We are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation.''

On the diplomatic front, Obama pledged to remain committed to helping ongoing peace-building talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Obama also revealed that he has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to maintain a settlement moratorium on the West Bank as long as negotiations are making progress.

Obama did not mention anything about East Asia.



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