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Leadership for grownups.

President Obama returned from a visit to Afghanistan to announce a landmark trade agreement with South Korea and took time to attack the GOP for offering tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while failing to help those who need help the most.

He promised to "roll up my sleeves" and get the job done on the tax issues facing Congress in the lame duck session.

I hope there will be a transcript of this (in full) soon but not counting on it, request assistance from Kossacks.

Update:  Whitehouse.gov just posted it.  Transcript here. Youtube video here.

Here are some highlights:

"It's not enough.  We need to do more to accelerate the economic recovery and help the millions of Americans who are still looking for work."

Touts the South Korea agreement as "essential to that effort".  Says "We don't want to simply be a country that consumes other countries' goods."  Effort to "keep American competitive in the 21st century."  Refers to "outstanding US trade representative Ron Kirk".  Said the deal "wasn't good enough" originally for the American economy or American workers.  (Which means that he doubled down on South Korea to get a better deal.)

This is a bit different from past deals like CAFTA, for example.

Says "it's a win win for both our countries".  Increased exports of American agricultural products to Korea as well as aerospace, in addition to manufacturing.  In particular electric cars and green tech in automotive industry.

Hard numbers of up to $11 billion for American economy.  Notes that it's a "fair trade agreement" and not merely a free trade agreement.

"Reaching this agreement was not easy."  Thanks South Korean president for his work.

Notes that work on implementation continues, especially access of US beef to Korean market.  Says Democrats and Republicans should all be able to agree that job creation is good for American economy.

Pivots to tax cut vote in the Senate:

I am very disappointed that the Senate did not pass legislation that had already passed the House of Representatives to make middle class tax cuts permanent.  Those provisions should have passed.  And I continue to believe that it makes no sense to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  Especially when those high-income tax cuts would cost an additional $700 billion that we don't have, and would add to our deficit.

Obama goes on to say that he will roll up his sleeves to work on an agreement between Senate Republicans and Democrats in order to provide tax relief and help stimulate further economic growth.

UPDATE #2 - In case you missed it, here's Obama's speech in Bagram.

And here's Biden's weekly address where he hits the GOP hard for both tax cut obstruction and unemployment benefits obstruction.

Let me ask you something:  Why do these videos only have 1500 views?  And why haven't you shared this with 250 of your friends and neighbors?

Originally posted to Benintn on Sat Dec 04, 2010 at 02:42 PM PST.

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