Barack Obama

Obama to knock Republicans and emphasize jobs Thursday

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday will urge Congress to move forward on new job creation measures and pounce on Republicans for “obstructing efforts to rebuild” the U.S. economy, a White House official said.

Obama travels on Thursday to Buffalo, New York, where he will give a speech on the economy that highlights his administration’s achievements after the most recent U.S. jobs report showed the largest increase in jobs in four years, the official said.

“He’ll urge Congress to act quickly on new job creation measures, including proposals to strengthen small businesses so they can grow and hire,” the official said on Wednesday.

“And he’ll call on Republicans to stop sitting on the sidelines and obstructing efforts to rebuild our economy for the sake of short-term political gain.”

Employers added 290,000 jobs in April, the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday. It revised figures for February and March to show 121,000 more jobs were added than previously thought. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 9.9 percent as the size of the labor force increased.

Republicans charge that the president’s policies have not been successful in tackling stubbornly high unemployment, which has been a political sore spot for Obama even though the job market appears to be slowly on the mend.

Republicans largely rejected Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, which Democrats and many economists say helped move the United States away from the brink of a second Great Depression.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Stacey Joyce