July 8th, 2010
01:55 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: Economy 'headed in the right direction'


President Obama on Thursday toured Smith Electric, an electric company in Kansas City, Missouri, that has been helped by economic stimulus funds. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday the U.S. economy is "headed in the right direction," and he challenged Republican critics to work with him to continue making progress instead of trying to obstruct his agenda.

"What is absolutely clear is that we are headed in the right direction - and that the surest way out of this storm is to keep moving forward," Obama told workers at a Kansas City, Missouri, electric vehicle company that had been helped by economic stimulus funds.

"There are some people who argue that we ought to abandon our efforts, and some people who made the political calculation that it's better to just say no to everything than lend a hand," Obama said of congressional Republicans who oppose his policies.

He urged his political opponents to visit Smith Electric Vehicles, which makes batteries for electric trucks, and other businesses across the country to hear how government initiatives such as the stimulus bill and tax credits are creating and saving jobs, particularly in future-growth industries such as clean energy.

"This is how we ensure that America not only recovers, but prospers - that this nation leads the industries of the future," Obama said.

Later, at a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan, Obama sharpened his criticism of Republicans, saying his GOP opponents continue to push the same economic policies that helped bring the recession that started during the previous administration.

"It's a little odd getting lectures on sobriety from folks who spent like drunken sailors for the last decade," Obama said. At a second event for Carnahan, Obama said Republicans are "peddling that same snake oil that they've been peddling for years."

Repeating previous attacks, Obama singled out a recent comment by House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio that the Wall Street reform bill awaiting final congressional approval is akin to using a nuclear weapon to kill "an ant."

Ridiculing Boehner for comparing the financial system collapse that helped launch the recession to an ant, Obama said: "You can imagine a movie: 'The Ant That Ate Our Economy.' That's a big ant."

Boehner has since said he was criticizing the financial regulations reform bill rather than minimizing the scope of the financial system collapse.

Obama, however, said Republicans "continue to defend the status quo that got us into this mess."

Noting that some of his policies, such as the economic stimulus bill, were not widely popular, Obama prompted applause by saying: "Our decision was not to worry about the next election. We worried about the next generation."

Republicans criticize Obama for driving up the federal deficit, which they say hinders economic recovery and threatens future stability. Obama contends that government spending was essential to halting the recession and must continue in the short term until full recovery is assured.

At the same time, the president said, a deficit reduction commission he appointed will devise a long-term strategy for balancing the federal books.

Filed under: Economy • issues • President Obama
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Thank you Mr. President for calling out the Obstructionist Party.

    July 8, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. phoenix86

    Obama really is a fool.

    July 8, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Enough

    Blah, Blah, Blah..more empty words from the clueless empty suit who knows NOTHING about the business world and what we need to operate............good luck with that one clueless.

    July 8, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. buckwheat

    Please, Please step down you clown!

    July 8, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Duck Fallas

    While a reverse in economic progress would make the repukes happy, what they REALLY want to see is a horrific terrorist attack. Wouldn't that be great?

    July 8, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. NAM VET

    "Headed in the right direction" That statement would be for a king or
    dictator. Obama is a servant of the people that has sworn to protect
    and defend the constution not make it over in his own mind.

    July 8, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. gt

    obama needs to have a new conference with labron james tonight and tell the world how great they are and how wonderful things are going to be....that s another dog and pony show that has no substance...

    July 8, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. TangledThorns

    Off a cliff is not the right direction 🙁

    July 8, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Seth

    President Obama.. why don't you take time off from 'tooting your own horn' and go and visit the great state of AZ. You are nothing short
    of Amazing to most of us, who listen with open mouthed amazement when you do and say the things you do and say.

    By the way, the only GREEN that is worth spending our money on, is
    the GREEN waves of Nausea that threaten to overtake us when we
    have to hear you speaking to your greatness.

    Thank goodness for Pink Pepto... it helps with the green feeling.

    July 8, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Eric

    Oh we're headed in the right direction, alright... we're headed into November where we will saddle you with the albatross of "lame duck" status.

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer Jimmy Carter wannabe.

    July 8, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    Yes, we are headed in the right direction. I thank President Obama for getting us to where we are today. Whether or not we remain so after the mid-terms is still up in the air.

    I for one have no interest in repeating the same failed conservative policies which got us to where we are today.

    Whether enough Americans feel as I do remains to be seen.

    July 8, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    "This is how we ensure that America not only recovers, but prospers – that this nation leads the industries of the future," Obama said.
    I like the old way better. American companies with better products survive because they also, by the way, do better in the marketplace ( think Ford, not GM or Chrysler) and these are the companies that do better in the golbal markets. If companies do not deliver, let them go away so that better companies can take their place. The US government is not very good at picking winners. That's not their role and all it does is delay the inevitable.

    When companies survive because they do better in the marketplace, America prospers. The government needs to get out of the way and let that happen.

    July 8, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Tall Ed

    It is despite the Republicans getting in the way every chance they get.

    July 8, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Bill

    Thins are not getting better, Mr. President. And when the largest tax increase in US history occurs in 6 months, things will get really bad.

    July 8, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Eric

    After 5 quarters of recovery, you'd think that the press would notice some good news.

    Sure the employment is still 'off', but I dare anyone to show any previous recovery that was 'job-ful'.

    July 8, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. veteran

    All depends on who is blowing hot air for what!

    July 8, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. babs

    I live in a small cross roads town in California. The kind of town filled with gas stations, fast food and outlet malls. You have to go through this town to get to vegas or LA. We're doing fine. I can tell by the traffic and the line at the gas stations.

    July 8, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Sir Gresham

    Real Unemployment @ 22.3 percent
    Commercial Real Estate imploding
    1 trillion dollar muni bond default on the way
    Sorry there will be no recovery
    Solutions for us little guys:
    Trade in Competing/local currency
    Buy gold/silver
    Cut costs
    Hold your politicians accountable

    July 8, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. NVa Native

    Despite all the Republican's efforts to destroy our country and our economy it is getting better.
    Think how better things could be if we had all of Congress, not just the Democratic law makers, working for the benefit of all Americans?
    November can't come soon enough so we can replace the lazy Republicans and hire some more real patriots who want to earn their paycheck.

    July 8, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Hammerer

    Headed in the right direction for who?
    Jobless at record highs and climbing. National debt nearing 14 trillion and growing at record rate. Housing in the tank. Businesses closing every day. Oil spill out of control and growing every day. Taxes increasing at record rates. States nearing bankruptcy with no relief in sight.
    But the government is taking control of every aspect of our lives. Is that what obama means?
    Who is out of touch with reality now?

    July 8, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Barry

    As the saying goes, "don't hate the player, hate the game." If you don't like the game, change the rules. It's clear that as politicians move up the ladder, they rely more on people and groups with big money and deep pockets, not the working class person in their district. Political suicide or not, we need publicly financed campaigns. Lets do it.

    July 8, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. normajean

    I still have faith as has our president that we WILL get through this big mess and come out of it as a solid society, but it will take a while longer. You that have tanked him in the past don't stop listening to the opposition long enough to think for your selves and realize the old saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" can be applied here in that NO president could have faced the multitude of problems that this one has with a new one added every month or so, and cleaned it all up in less than two years.I don't recall in past administrations any president being so dishonored and obstructed at every turn by the other party as this one has been. The Repubs have been out to put him down and out since day one.They are about to find out they have "cut off their noses to spite their own faces " Bye bye Repubs.!

    July 8, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Dean

    CNN) – President Barack Obama said Thursday the U.S. economy is "headed in the right direction," ---------This man does not have a clue. Over 12% real unemployment, taxes up, state and federal services down, healthcare insurance costs up greatly, jobs still going overseas, debt to China growing daily and no end in sight.

    July 8, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    Only if you think headed LEFT is the RIGHT direction!

    July 8, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Frank in valparaiso indiana

    The GOP is clueless about economics. Totally.

    Consider, Reagan was tutored on what to say by the Hoover Institute that is so wrong, it is not on the Stanford campus. Its off on its own it such a looney bin. The country has gone downhill from there. A bunch of rich cronies like Bushes who moved to Texas because they don't want to pay taxes, do everything to increase their money at the expense of the rest of America.

    Russia never had such brainless stooges to bring the US to its knees.

    July 8, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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