Obama says GOP opposition to raising gov't borrowing cap without cuts 'deadbeat'

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, July 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

"The businesses of tomorrow are not going to locate near outdated roads and old ports," he said. Improvements to the port so more supertankers can come in would mean more workers spending more money at restaurants so that the waitress serving them, for example, can spend more money on an iPod, he said.

In making his plea for more spending on public works projects, the president is also relying on support from corporate leaders whose businesses either benefit from government financed construction or rely on up-to-date transportation systems to move their products. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been pressing Congress for greater spending on infrastructure and has allied itself with the president's effort, but in a statement Wednesday, chamber President Thomas Donohue also put some distance with Obama by saying such a public works initiative must be tied to less regulation, lower taxes and less overall government spending.

"The president correctly underscored the importance of infrastructure, education and immigration to our economic future," Donohue said. "But in order to grow and create lasting private sector jobs, we must have more economic freedom and while reining in government spending, taxes and debt."

The visit also marked Obama's first to the state since the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man charged in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The case has generated a painful, nationwide debate about racial prejudice, but Obama didn't mention the case in his public remarks.

The broad economic themes Obama illustrated Thursday will be followed up in the coming weeks by another series of speeches drilling down on key sectors such as manufacturing, education, housing, retirement security and health care. Advisers say some of those speeches will contain more specific policy proposals, both for legislation and executive action Obama can take without congressional approval.

The first of those addresses was to come Tuesday, when Obama will travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., to promote American competitiveness at an Amazon fulfillment center, which packs and ships products to online purchasers. The White House said some new policy ideas will be unveiled during that visit.

Follow Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

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