[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/18/art.bopt0518.gi.jpg caption=" The president said Tuesday that his administration's economic stimulus package was 'the right thing to do.'"]
Youngstown, Ohio (CNN) - President Barack Obama took his economic recovery message on the road Tuesday, heading to the heart of the Rust Belt to defend his administration's controversial stimulus plan and take credit for reversing the recent downturn.
The president tore into the plan's opponents, attacking them for what he claimed is political hypocrisy and a defense of failed policies.
He made his remarks during a visit to an Ohio plant that manufactures steel pipes for the oil and gas industry. In February, the Vallourec and Mannesmann Star factory used funds from the $862 billion stimulus package to add more than 300 jobs.
The package - strongly criticized by Republicans for failing to more dramatically lower near double-digit unemployment - was "the right thing to do," Obama said.
"Now, we've got a long way to go ... but despite that sobering reality, and despite the naysayers in Washington, who look for the cloud around every silver lining; the fact is that our economy is growing again."
The economy grew in the first three months of this year but at a much slower pace than at the end of 2009, according to a government report released in April. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic activity, rose at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the quarter, the Commerce Department noted.
The president accused critics of his economic agenda of "rooting for failure." He also mocked them "trying to score political points by attacking what we did," only to "show up," "cut the ribbons," and "send the mailings home touting the very projects they opposed."
"If the just-say-no crowd had won out ... we'd be in a deeper world of hurt," he warned.
Obama also recently visited Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and New York to tout the improving economy and improved jobs numbers.