Weekly addresses: GOP, Obama offer different views on moving forward
March 8th, 2014
05:42 PM ET
9 years ago

Weekly addresses: GOP, Obama offer different views on moving forward

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, agree on at least one thing: The economic status quo is not working.

But in their weekly addresses, the President and the freshman senator presented very different ideas on how to fix the problem - and what is causing it in the first place.

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Obama reiterated his push to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour - a push he highlighted in his State of the Union address and took on the road to Connecticut this past week.

"A clear majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage, because we believe that nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty," he said, adding, "Working Americans have struggled through stagnant wages for far too long."

Three recent polls show a majority of Americans support a $10.10 minimum wage: 63%, 72%, and 73%, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC News, CBS News, and Pew Research Center surveys, respectively.

Obama blamed Republicans for standing in the way.

"The Republicans who do serve in Congress don’t want to vote on the minimum wage at all. Some even want to get rid of it completely. Seriously," he said.

Portman grasped onto the same idea of a struggling middle class and a gridlocked Washington that has not done enough to help.

"The wealthy are doing just fine in the Obama economy, but with paychecks down and the costs of healthcare, college education, and a tank of gas going up, this middle-class squeeze is strangling the American dream," he said. "Clearly, the policies coming out of Washington, D.C., haven't worked."

Instead of addressing the minimum wage, however, he proposed new policies, pointing to Senate Republicans' seven-step plan, "Jobs for America."

The program includes reforming a "complex and expensive" tax code, cutting back on regulations and red tape, repealing and replacing Obamacare, signing trade agreements with new partners around the world, and passing a balanced-budget amendment to rein in government spending.

He also channeled a Democrat to drive home the point.

"'A rising tide lifts all boats,' said John F. Kennedy. Let's enact these reforms. If we do, we'll see unemployment rates drop, we'll see incomes rise, and we'll see the gap between the rich and the poor close - not because we are bringing people down, but because we are bringing people up," he said.

Filed under: GOP weekly address • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Obama, it is very important to Raise Minimum Wage. Also this nation needs to have entire Tax-Code redone. Loopholes in Tax codes need to be eradicated and filled up thoroughly. Lower the Foreign tax to bring in the companies into USA–at least for certain period of time, if not permanent. Nothing wrong with Obamacare. Don't even think of it–it is a national dire need. From government exchanges–drop the prices of premiums and lower the deductions. Cut Medicare. Push more PAs, NPs into rural practices, giving them autonomy. Good lucks. God bless!!!!!

    March 8, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. CAWinMD

    Apparently Portman and the Senate Republicans didn't get the memo - one of their brethren in the House put forth a serious attempt at tax reform. His own leader said "Blah blah blah blah" about it. Kinda makes the rest of Portman's words ring hollow.

    March 8, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    The baggers have tried repealing ACA without any alternative. They have offered nothing for 5 years, but now they want to replace it, the same way they want to repeal social security and the same way they want to repeal Medicare. Some day, when they do come up with something, the American people will reject them again.

    March 8, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP has no NEW ideas and all the GOP idiots say or do is be AGAINEST anything obam proposes that would be good for the American people !!! And most of their members are the DUMBEST voters in the country. You ARE LOSING the house in November because of HIDING BEHIND obamacare and offering NOTHING and we are ALL SICK of it!!!!!!!

    March 8, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. Mike Texoma

    It is deja vue all over again at CPAC and in the platform points put forward by Portman, none of which is calculated to relieve the squeeze for middle America.

    March 8, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. Mike Texoma

    It is deja vue all over again both in CPAC and in the Republican platform points put forward by Portman, none of which would relieve the squeeze on middle America.

    March 8, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. king

    are you serious Portman, you want to start another NAFTA, you guys always talk about the job creators need this and that, these job creators are getting more money more than anytime in our nations history by far. this trickle down crap you guys have been pushing for decades haven't work, so you guys need to wake up. money need to be invested here in America not in china, by pushing all the dow to10 or 20 billionaires. suppose quarter of those billionaires decide to leave America and take what they've got with them, how much wealth and jobs you think they'll take out of our economy. after all this is the free market system and guys are free to do what they please with their money right repubs. we need to try to get the money in as many hands as possible in this country, so if a few billionaires decides to get up and leave America, the job and wealth devastation would be minimum. lets start rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and force businesses to come here, rather than kissing their butts to stay.

    March 8, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. HenryMiller

    "A clear majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage..."

    It's as ridiculous to try to set by popular vote a fairly fundamental economic value as it would be to try to set a physical constant. No matter how many people voted for it, you couldn't change the speed of light. And while you can set a minimum wage, forcing it significantly off its free-market value will just reduce the efficiency of the economy, resulting in lower total distributed wages.

    March 8, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. bill

    there is a big difference-obama won lie of the year award-he has zero experience per clinton and it shows. Increasing wages for the same amount of work does not increase employment. Obamacare will costs us 2,500,000 jobs-keystone pipeline will add thousands of jobs, drilling of reserves and offshore will create jobs but as obama says YOU CAN KEEP YOUR GUNS.

    March 8, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    I thought last election time Portman had a lot of common sense, but lets see what
    Reform a complex and expensive tax code = reduce big business corporate tax rates and high income earners top rates, leaving in place outdated not needed corporate tax breaks....mmm cost money it does.
    Cut back on regulations and red tape = repeal Dodd Frank.
    Repeal and replace PPACA ( no such thing as Obama care technically)= Republican cant even agree on the How or why or what with at this time. till they tell me what the replacement is I ain't voting for them.
    Signing trade agreements around the world with new Partners ... has Portman not heard of TPP and the EU negotiations both at advanced stages?
    Passing a balanced Budget amendment. sounds good, but where Is he going to get over the next three years a further $ 1. 2 trillion of cuts and then maintain them going forward.
    Right now we need the rising tide directed to the poor and A $10.10 minimum is good start. along with the infrastructure spend in Obama's budget proposal.
    Oh and lets start by stopping all Hissy fits on Benghazi ,IRS House investigations that have cost $millions already and achieved nothing of value to this nation. ISSA's behavior at the IRS investigation was irresponsible undemocratic and appalling. He has no respect for the policy an procedure associated with such meetings.
    His antics do not win votes with Independents... they lose votes.

    March 8, 2014 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  11. CryBabies

    Hey President O...If we raise the minimum wage, can women buy their own birth control? ...... That was so wrong of me to say, what with the "War on Women" and all. I need to "rspect" the battle!

    March 9, 2014 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  12. @RI_Roger

    After 5 plus years, the President has no credibility for economic expansion or job growth initiatives. It's time to stop the madness of thinking a few high earning Americans are going to be able to lift a sinking ship by contributing more to an irresponsible government. It's time for congressional changes first which can be veto proofed, and then Presidential changes to come in 2016.

    March 9, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  13. Lizzie

    Minimum wage up, EVERYTHING in the stores will go up, so where is the benefit of it.

    March 9, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  14. croaton999

    A minimum wage of 10.10 for FEDERAL workers? That's it Mr. President? You're pathetic.

    March 9, 2014 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  15. J anthony

    This guy Portman must be kidding- his "ideas" are the same old rightwing, neoliberal malarkey, with the exception of fixing the tax code. The president at least wants to bring up wages, but its so marginal as to be ineffective. But it is still necessary. Yet neither side is addressing structural root-causes.

    March 9, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. Marie MD

    That's because the bump the teaklans are behind is the size of a mountain.
    In the meantime the teaklans continue to leave everyone behind with any common sense.

    March 9, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  17. Stop wasting time

    There are jobs bills sitting in the House right now republicans. What are you waiting for?

    March 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. rs

    The difference couldn't be clearer. The Democrats and the head of the Party, the President wish to move the nation forward in step with other first-world nations.
    One could say that charitably, the GOP do not. Worse they are seeking a backwards movement- to somewhere like 1850.

    March 9, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    If we can get the minimum wage increased, maybe republicans will be able to afford buying their own Viagra and male enhancement drugs.

    March 9, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Sometime in the near future, it would be refreshing to see a republican with a basic understanding of economics. So far, there aren't any.

    March 9, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Boehner needs to pass the bipartisan senate jobs bill. That's where the jobs, jobs, jobs are. Stupid republicans prefer hurting Americans to actually moving our country forward.

    March 9, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. Tommy G

    After 5 years of failure and lies, who in their right mind would believe anything Obama spews? This total incompetent simply has no clue about the real world and what it takes to get this country going again economically. He is stuck back in the 1930's with his make work government jobs. They didn't work then (WWII ended the depression) and don't work now. Obama and the Democrats don't care about the damage they do to people and the economy as long as they force their far left agenda down our throats. The coming election will help straighten that out. 7 years of Democrats controlling the federal government has proven it is a total failure.

    March 9, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Gurgyl

    @Lizzie, are you blind? Just go to Harriteeter for grocery, buy milk for 5/ dollars. Gas for 3.49, good luck, don't cry. Not be idiotic.

    March 9, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Tommy – read up on history, I think you will find Hannity is lying to you.

    March 9, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Marcus (from...?)

    Tommy G – Usual Republican 'reinterpretation' of history... If the country hadn't recovered, substantially, by 1939/40 do you honestly think that the War Effort could have been put in motion? Honestly? Yeah, it was a bumpy ride the recovery in the 1930's, but it did happen and if you stop reading GOP's talking points and read books about the history of economy you'll see that.
    As for the '5 years of failure and lies', the correct is '8 years of lies and failure', the 'tax cuts' that were supposed to bring the unemployment down and the economy up didn't worked, no WMDs or anything to justify the invasion of Iraq, Medicare Part D wasn't funded, Afghanistan became a pointless 'occupation', the post-Katrina fiasco was justified with talking points like 'What they were thinking to build a town below the sea level?'... and list just goes on...

    March 9, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |