Obama launches campaign recess with shots at GOP agenda

The Obama administration on Saturday continued to push a jobs offensive, portraying the February 2009 stimulus vote as a progressive move and arguing regressive movements would move the country backwards.

In several different towns specifically targeted for delivery, President Obama said in his weekly address, “For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington.”

Obama took specific aim at clean energy, saying the country had become too dependent on foreign oil and too reliant on special interests in converting its needs.

“Families have been held hostage to spikes in gas prices. Good manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. And we’ve seen companies produce new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs not in America, but in countries like China, India and Germany,” Obama said.

“It is essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012," the president said.

"Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future.”

Obama has been in a jobs-growing spat with the Senate for several months. The Republicans' “Pledge To America,” Obama said, doesn’t put the country on a sustainable, foreign oil-free future.

“The Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold,” Obama said. “This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future.

"To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil," the president said. "And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs."

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele fired back at Obama in a pre-buttal Friday night.

“House Republicans’ 'all of the above' energy plan would actually put more money into renewable technologies, paid for by the oil industry," Steele said. "Everyone knows that the president’s trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ didn’t work, by the standards his own administration set. False attacks won’t distract the American people asking ‘where are the jobs?’ when it is clear the president has no new answers.”

In the end, Obama cast the November elections as about job creation. Without the tax incentives and job-growth priorities that Democrats have pursued, he said, Americans will be far worse off.

“That’s what’s at stake in this debate,” Obama said. “We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive.

"We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future.”