* Obama steps up US pressure campaign on Europe crisis
* President says European leaders must act faster
By Alister Bull
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept 26 President Barack
Obama said on Monday that Europe's debt crisis was "scaring the
world" and eurozone leaders were not acting fast enough,
underscoring concerns about the fallout for the U.S. economy
and his own re-election chances.
Obama's pointed remarks, delivered at a townhall-style
meeting in California that focused mostly on his $447 billion
U.S. jobs plan, added to Washington's pressure on Europe to
move more forcefully to contain its fiscal troubles.
There is growing concern within Obama's administration that
a deepening of Europe's sovereign debt crisis could pitch the
already-stagnant U.S. economy back into recession at a time
when he faces a daunting 2012 re-election bid.
Obama said the U.S. recovery suffered setbacks this year
due to problems around the world, including the Arab Spring
uprisings that drove up energy prices and worries about the
financial health of European countries.
"They have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007
and never fully dealt with all the challenges that their
banking system faced. It is now being compounded with what is
happening in Greece," Obama told an audience of about 400 in
Mountain View in California's Silicon Valley.
"So they are going through a financial crisis that is
scaring the world and they are trying to take responsible
actions but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they
need to be," Obama said.
His latest criticism of the European response followed an
IMF meeting in Washington where the United States and China
piled pressure on Europe to get to grips with its debt crisis.
But Obama faces fiscal woes of his own. Moody's Investors
Service said his deficit reduction plan would be positive for
America's credit ratings but chances of its implementation are
TOUTS JOB PLAN
Obama, on the West Coast to raise funds for his campaign
and tout his jobs-creation proposals, has seen his approval
ratings hit by worries over persistently high unemployment
above 9 percent.
The Democratic president, who pushed through an $800
billion economic stimulus plan in 2009, has set out a new plan
of new spending and tax breaks aimed at creating jobs.
Republicans, who have accused him of wasteful spending in
the past, have given his package a cool reception because it
would be paid for with tax increases on high income earners,
but say they are willing to consider some of his ideas.
At his appearance in Silicon Valley, Obama chided
Republicans on Monday for what he depicted as an effort to
shield the wealthy from taxes at the expense of middle class
But he was not as strident in his criticism of his
political foes as he was on a Sunday night California
fundraiser where he mocked Texas Governor Rick Perry, a top
contender to win the Republican presidential nomination, for
questioning the human causes behind global climate
Obama has deliberately hardened his attack against
Republicans in recent weeks, sharpening differences between the
two parties before next year's election in a bid to energize
his core supporters, who he needs to win in 2012.
At Monday's event, Obama faced mostly gentle questioning
from the audience. One middle-aged man, who said he was
unemployed by choice after having profited well from an
Internet start-up, asked the president to raise his taxes to
support programs like education.
The call echoed billionaire investor Warren Buffet, who
urged the rich to pay more in tax, prompting Obama to propose a
Buffett Rule that people earning $1 million a year pay at least
the same tax rate as less wealthy Americans.
Republicans have insisted that raising taxes on
higher-income Americans would hurt job creation.
"The income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially
over the last couple of decades while the incomes of the middle
class have flatlined over the last 15 years," Obama said.
The townhall meeting at the Computer History Museum, hosted
by professional networking site LinkedIn Corp LNKD.N in the
heart of Silicon Valley, is the latest in a string of Obama
events to press Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs bill.
(Additional reporting by Laura MacInnis; Writing by Matt
Spetalnick and John O'Callaghan; Editing by Jackie Frank)