By JUDITH BURNS
WASHINGTON--U.S. President Barack Obama, fresh from his first presidential trip to Asia, called for the U.S. to increase exports to that region, saying even small gains would help put many unemployed Americans back on the job.
"As we emerge from the worst recession in generations, there is nothing more important than to do everything we can to get our economy moving again and put Americans back to work, and I will go anywhere to pursue that goal," Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address to the nation.
The president's remarks follow his four-nation tour of Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea, a trip he said was prompted largely by economic interests. Now back in the U.S., he promised to continue to focus on ways to combat U.S. unemployment.
Mr. Obama warned the U.S. shouldn't return to relying on growth fueled by consumer borrowing, urging the nation to spend less, save more and get the record federal deficit under control. He also called for a greater emphasis on exports, saying a 5% increase in U.S. exports to Asia would result in hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.
The president touted an upcoming White House forum on jobs and economic growth, where business executives and owners, labor unions, economists and financial experts will discuss ways to spur hiring and get the economy moving again.
"It is important that we do not make any ill-considered decisions--even with the best of intentions--particularly at a time when our resources are so limited. But it is just as important that we are open to any demonstrably good idea to supplement the steps we've already taken to put America back to work. That's what I hope to achieve in this forum," Mr. Obama said.
The Republican address, delivered by Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), focused on legislation unveiled this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), to overhaul U.S. health care. Mr. Crapo encouraged voters to read the 2,074-page bill, suggesting that would be "a real eye-opener."
Mr. Crapo said that if Mr. Reid's bill becomes law, it would drive up health-care costs, increase taxes and impose hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts on Medicare, the federal health program for older Americans. He also complained that it would establish "a massive governmental intrusion into management of our health-care economy" and that despite its cost and sweep, it would still leave millions of Americans without health insurance.
"This is not true health-care reform, and it is not what the American people want," said Mr. Crapo.
Write to Judith Burns at email@example.com