POLITICS

Obama: Gadhafi, Iraq show renewed US leadership

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Obama said ending both wars will allow the U.S. to focus on rebuilding a weak economy so it can start creating enough jobs to reduce high levels of unemployment. That could possibly aid his re-election bid, which is being jeopardized by the tough financial circumstances.

"Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength - our own people," the president said. "Now, the nation we need to build is our own."

In the Republicans' weekly message, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., bemoaned 32 consecutive months with unemployment above 8 percent.
While Obama on Saturday called anew or passage of his $447 billion jobs bill, Burr urged action on a Republican alternative.

Senate Republicans recently blocked Obama's overall bill, leaving Democrats in charge of the chamber to try to pass it piece by piece. But Republican senators also blocked action on the first component of the larger bill, a $35 billion measure to boost hiring of teachers and emergency services workers.

In turn, Democrats stalled a measure both parties support that would stop the government from withholding 3 percent of payments to government contractors.

A test vote is expected next month, after the Senate returns from vacation, on a $60 billion bill to finance construction of roads, bridges and other public works projects.

Burr said people are hurting and the economy is in "grave danger."

"It's time for Congress to focus on the American people and not how difficult change might be," he said. "It's time stop playing games and to get on with the serious business that the American people expect from us."

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