(CNN) - President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that bouncing back from the recession has been "painfully slow," but insisted that the economy continues to grow as he pushed his administration's new economic proposals at his first news conference in months.
Obama once again urged the Senate to pass his small-business jobs bill, arguing that it has been blocked by "a partisan (Republican) minority." He praised Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, for announcing that he would not help GOP leaders block the bill.
Still, he said, there is "room for discussion" on competing tax plans. "If the Republican leadership is prepared to get serious ... I would love to talk to them," he told reporters at the White House.