Obama touts ‘progress’ as he urges greater focus on economy

President Obama sought to promote his administration’s accomplishments on the economy this past week after spending it mired in the controversy over Shirley Sherrod. 

Obama made remarks early Friday afternoon touting the Wall Street reform legislation and unemployment insurance extension he signed into law this week, part of a three-pronged strategy to bolster the economy.


“We made enormous progress this week,” Obama said in remarks at the White House. 

But the president’s words sought to escape the shadow of the controversy involving the firing of Sherrod, an Agriculture Department official who received an apology from Obama himself after she was mistakenly forced to resign. 

That controversy dominated the news cycle on Wednesday, when Obama signed Wall Street reform into law, and to a lesser extent on Thursday, when he signed the unemployment benefits into law after a long Senate impasse.

The president’s remarks were a late addition to his Friday schedule, and he used the opportunity to push lawmakers to send a small-business package to his desk for signature.

"Ultimately our goal is to make sure that people who are looking for a job can find a job," Obama said. "And that's why it's so important for the Senate to pass the additional steps that I've asked for to cut taxes and expand lending for America's small businesses, our most important engine for hiring and for growth."

He singled out Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and two Republicans, Sens. George Voinovich (Ohio) and George LeMieux (Fla.), for their assistance on that legislation.

"I was heartened that Senators LeMieux and Senator George Voinovich crossed party lines to help pass this lending provision last night," he said. "And I hope we can now finish the job and pass the small- business jobs plan without delay and without additional partisan wrangling."

"...The small-businessmen and -women who write to me every day and the folks who I've met with across this country, they can't afford anymore political games," the president added. "They need us to do what they sent us here to do. And they didn't send us here to wage a never-ending campaign."