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Obama: Reward businesses that invest in US

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POSTED January 11, 2012 8:07 p.m.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Flanked by business executives, President Barack Obama urged employers Wednesday to create jobs in the U.S. rather than ship them overseas and offered to propose tax incentives to help them.
"I'm incredibly optimistic about our prospects," Obama said about the economy after meeting with more than a dozen corporate and small business leaders whose firms have succeeded, to one degree or another, in bringing jobs back to the United States.
A day after his Republican adversaries competed in the New Hampshire primary, Obama sought to grab back the spotlight and underscore his focus on the economy by convening a high-profile White House forum on how to increase employment and stem the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been sent overseas.
Obama did not mention any of his potential Republican challengers during his public remarks. But two participants in the forum, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, compared Obama favorably to Mitt Romney, who on Tuesday won the New Hampshire Republican primary and solidified his lead over the GOP presidential field.
Gerard said his union represented workers in companies that had been acquired by Romney's former firm, Bain Capital, and that eventually shut down. "From our point of view, this president from day one has tried to create jobs not cut jobs," he said.
As a result, the day had all the feel of a presidential counterpunch to the Republican candidates, and particularly to Romney, who has sought to portray Obama as a foe of free enterprise.
Obama highlighted big and small firms ranging from Ford to a North Carolina specialty furniture company as examples of enterprises that have invested in the U.S. rather than abroad. He called on other companies to do the same with the help of government incentives.
The White House says the president will propose $12 million in his 2013 budget to promote business investment from overseas in the United States. Obama has already proposed tax incentives, including a cut in employers' Social Security taxes, to encourage more hiring. Congress has not acted on those measures.


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