Obama's appeals for help for middle class - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Obama's appeals for help for middle class

WASHINGTON (AP) -- He may not be able to get his proposals through a divided Congress -- but President Barack Obama is hoping that the ideas he outlined in his State of the Union speech have been heard by voters.

As Republicans -- including those seeking to challenge him in November -- call for the government to back off and let the free market rule, Obama pleaded for an active government that ensures economic fairness for everyone.

He offered a plan to help more struggling homeowners refinance, and to help students afford college. And he called for higher taxes on millionaires, saying it's not "class warfare" but simply a matter of fairness.

Obama said instead of a country where "a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," there can be an economy "where everyone gets a fair shot," does their "fair share" and "plays by the same set of rules."

Obama said that while the economy is on the way back, there's still more to be done. He suggested that half of the money that is no longer being spent on the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan should be used to help create jobs and increase competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Republicans are firing back after the President's address. 

"No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others," said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, "tonight will mark another chapter in the misguided policies of the last three years-- and the failed leadership of one man."

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