Obama and Kasich: Lessons from the heartland
August 20th, 2011
11:51 AM ET
3 years ago

Obama and Kasich: Lessons from the heartland

(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.”


Filed under: Economy • GOP weekly address • John Kasich • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Hammerer

    If obama is serious about creating jobs and fixing the economy he can start by cutting of the welfare, healthcare, and all government aid to the illegals, shut down the job market for the 30 million or so illegals that are working in America.
    But that would cost him votes, illegals are not supposed to vote but-–.
    He challenges congress to put America ahead of politics, why does he not take the lead and show he is willing to lead.
    Oh! I forgot he is not a leader he is a speech maker.

    August 20, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gov. Kasich isn't concerned about jobs in Ohio, he's trying to get rid of collective bargaining and the people of Ohio want him gone. As a native of Ohio, I stand with them knowing these are some of the most dedicated and hard working people in the World and I'm very proud of them.

    August 20, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Gov.John Kasich’s approval rating hit 33% with in six months his favorite bill SB 5 will repeal in November, if we have do over election he will lose
    Very unpopular governor

    August 20, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    The trouble is........all of Obama's trade deals are going to benefit the other side, and NOT the US.

    The real way to level the playing field, is to tax US corporations for making and importing their products into the US. That will make them see it is just as cheap to make their products here.......and not off shore.

    The lie that Democrats are doing anything genuinely beneficial to US citizens, is just that.......a lie!

    The truth is, all the Democrats are doing, is doling out the country's tax dollars, in the short term, to people who will get only a temporary benefit, and then be right back in trouble again, because there is no REAL fix to our problems.

    The Democrats are lying to our citizens, left and right, and people are so blind to the truth, or so used to hand outs, they are buying into the lies.

    August 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. RebuildAmerica

    The entrepreneurial spirit has been a key source of America’s greatness since the nation’s founding over two hundred years ago. In addition to being the primary engine of our economic growth and prosperity, the entrepreneurial spirit is inextricably linked to the inalienable rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, including liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As Winston Churchill once said, “America is an idea, not a place.” Central to the American idea is the notion that individual dignity necessarily includes the freedom to work hard, be creative and get ahead in life without interference by the state. As such, entrepreneurship has historically been seen in America as a fundamental expression of the human spirit.

    In recent years, however, the entrepreneurial spirit in America has been increasingly stifled by burdensome taxes, regulations, and other government-imposed requirements that discourage risk taking by business and diminish the freedom and flexibility of American workers. Entrepreneurship in America is also currently dampened by over-criminalization in the judicial system, deteriorating public education, and a broken immigration system which discourages highly-skilled knowledge workers from coming to America. If left unchecked, these obstacles to entrepreneurship will have an increasingly negative impact on economic growth, America’s competitive position in the world, and ultimately our very liberty itself. It is therefore imperative that we unshackle America’s entrepreneurs and allow the power of economic creativity to flourish.

    August 20, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Clwyd

    Well, I don't agree that Kaisich worked , like he said with others in his state, at least he says that parties have to work together. That is why I wonder where he gets the idea he worked with anyone other than himself and the republican'ts in his state to shaft the members of unions by taking their rights away? I can't stand a republican who talks a good line and then uses his office to dictate! We have one worse than him here in Wisconsin!

    August 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    history has shown that technology has replaced the manpower needed to do a job. so why should the unemployment rate ever go down. the tech world has out paced the job creation world and will continue to do so in the future eliminating manpower to do jobs. lets get real

    August 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. calvin

    history has shown that technology has replaced the manpower needed to do a job. so why should the unemployment rate ever go down. the tech world has out paced the job creation world and will continue to do so in the future eliminating manpower to do jobs. lets get real

    August 20, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Ryan

    Kasich is a joke. How is that issue 5 working for you Mr. 1 time govenor. Shame on any Ohioan that voted for this rich out of touch mean spirited maniac!

    August 20, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. BigJim

    consumer demand (workers with a pay check to spend) is more important than tax code in helping a small local business owner be successful. Customers with money to spend in line at the cash register is what makes a business owner add employees. If large global corps would stop replacing tax paying American workers with non-tax paying communist Chinese workers and start ramping up good manufacturing jobs here maybe then we would see the turn around we are looking for. Considering record profits and record levels of cash on hand its obvious reducing taxes further will not spur companies to hire (or at least stop out sourcing USA jobs for awhile ).But maybe a surtax on uninvested cash would prompt some action, since cutting their taxes just resulted in hoarding trillions in cash.

    August 20, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. FRANK FROM LAS VEGAS

    I guess Kasich is doing such a good job is the reason why the citizens of Ohio are rejecting his policies so much much that THEY put one of his worst laws on the November ballot to be recalled. The people are and have been rejecting the GOP's war on the middle class all across our great country. Elect no member of the GOP to any office in 2012!

    August 20, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    That Fascist, Kasich, is just like Walker over in Wisconsin, and they are BOTH back-tracking on their fascist ways.

    We don't need that kind of stuff going on in OUR country.

    August 20, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |