(CNN) – President Barack Obama and Ohio Gov. John Kasich passed along what they saw as lessons from the Midwest Saturday during their weekly addresses.
The president taped his weekly address from Alpha, Illinois-a town he visited during a three-day bus tour through the region used to engage small town citizens in dialogue about jobs and the economy.
Washington can take a lesson from people in towns like Atkinson, Illinois; Peosta, Iowa; and Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Obama said. “Our country would be a whole lot better off if our elected leaders showed the same kind of discipline and integrity and responsibility that most Americans demonstrate in their lives every day.”
Obama recounted the obstacles in the economy, including the aftermath of a “terrible recession,” persistent unemployment, and “smaller paychecks or less money in the cash register” to highlight the need for elected officials to “put aside their differences to get things done.”
And he proposed ways to take immediate action that will “mean more customers for businesses and more jobs across the country.”
“We can cut payroll taxes,” the president said, and “pass a road construction bill so construction crews-now sitting idle-can head back to the worksite.” He encouraged connecting servicemen who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with businesses that “could use their skills” and repeated an often-said plea to “pass trade deals to level the playing field for our businesses.”
“I want more products sold around the globe stamped with three words: Made in America,” Obama stated.
But immediate solutions need immediate action and, according to Obama, the only thing holding back the “commonsense ideas” he listed are “politics.”
“The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party,” he determined.
The president closed his address with a revelation from his trip through the Midwest-a trip chastised by Republicans as a campaign maneuver.
“It reminds me why I got into public service in the first place,” Obama said.
“Getting out of Washington and spending time with the people of this country…that only makes me more determined to serve you as best I can as president.”
While the president drew from small town lessons learned, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich held up his state as a model to follow-but not before beginning with a zing.
“This week, the president traveled through the Midwest. He didn’t stop in Ohio…but if he had, I’d have told him the same story I’m about to share with you,” Kasich said.
The governor recalled beginning his first term in Ohio “facing the largest budget shortfall in our history and an economy suffering,” but said “my administration worked with members of the General Assembly to reduce our shortfall to zero, all the while cutting taxes for every Ohioan.”
Kasich blasted “past” methods of battling the state budget deficit, which he claimed included “tricks and gimmicks,” relied heavily on “one-time federal ‘stimulus’ dollars to fill the budget gap,” and “created a massive shortfall” as well as “increased unemployment.”
“We looked our problems square in the eye and we didn’t blink,” the governor said, touting his methods of budget battle.
“With our budget, we’ve achieved real savings and made long-overdue reforms to provide better value to Ohioans without raising their taxes…we cut their taxes and eliminated the death tax,” Kasich stated. “We’re privatizing economic development.”
The former Ohio congressman also listed the reform of programs “like Medicaid and prisons” as ways to cut the deficit “so we wouldn’t have to raise taxes and drive out more jobs.”
But Kasich warned that the national debt would “tackle us” if we don’t “tackle it,” and linked government actions to a ripple effect in states.
“Our success in Ohio and in a number of other states will be thwarted if Washington continues its spending spree and its punitive taxes on success,” he said.
“Americans can learn from Ohio,” he continued.
“Government is not the answer, but it can be part of the answer.”
And for government to work, Kasich advised both parties to come together.
“It’s my hope President Obama will listen to the people and partner with Republicans to get our economy back to creating jobs and producing growth,” he said.
“And its just as important that Republicans not be stiff-necked about working across the aisle when important work must get done.”