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Obama touts building rising, thriving middle class


09:09, February 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday stressed the importance of building a rising and thriving middle class as the engine of U.S. economic growth.

The United States should endeavor to bring more manufacturing jobs back from overseas and launch manufacturing hubs across the nation to transform some regions into global centers of high-tech jobs and manufacturing, Obama said in his weekly address.

"We need to invest in the research and technology that will allow us to harness more of our own energy and put more people back to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges," Obama said after wrapping up a three-day road trip to sell initiatives in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

"We need to make our tax code more competitive, ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and rewarding companies that create jobs here at home," he reiterated the message unveiled in his first of State of the Union address in his second term.

"No one in America should work full-time and raise their children in poverty," argued Obama, adding that the nation should raise federal minimum wage to 9 U.S. dollars per hour by 2015 from the current 7.25 dollars.

However, the proposal to raise federal minimum wage appeared to have little chance to pass the Republican-led House of Representatives, as top GOP lawmakers including U.S. House Speaker John Boehner opposed it.

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