Sperling: Economic plan ‘not about coming up with new fads’

National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling defended President Obama’s handling of the economy ahead of the State of the Union address, saying the president had offered steady policies that would continue the recovery.

“This isn’t about coming up with new fads like the Frisbee or the Hula-Hoop, it’s about what are the ingredients each and every year for what makes us a magnet for the strongest jobs,” Sperling said in an interview on CNN’s “Starting Point.”

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Sperling’s comments came in response to host Soledad O’Brien, who played clips from Obama’s last three addresses to Congress in which the president used similar wording about curbing tax breaks for companies and boosting the middle class.

Sperling said that language highlighted the president’s consistency and focus on restoring the nation’s economic health.

“I don’t think the American people want us to lose focus and attention — education, training, manufacturing, making sure that we are still the most innovative entrepreneurial country are the key things for our future,” he said.

Jobs and the economy will be the centerpiece of Obama’s speech Tuesday night to Congress, according to the White House.

“You are going to hear him talking about how we make and continue to make the United States the magnet for strong job creation for locating jobs that pay well that help families make a middle-class living, and that’s going to focus on manufacturing, on innovation, on entrepreneurships, small business, and all very importantly what we have to do to give our young people and our current workers the skills to fit those jobs,” Sperling said.

“If that doesn’t seem like anything terribly new, that’s because it has been our guiding light since our first day in office — how do we strengthen the middle class,” he added.

The president is expected to warn against the dangers of looming sequestration cuts and call for a “balanced” package of tax revenues and cuts to tackle the deficit. But that call has been rebuffed by Republicans who insist they will not accept new tax revenues in any sequester replacement deal.