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Political Notebook

Obama says shift from foreign oil will create jobs

Cherry trees bloomed along the Tidal Basin in Washington yesterday. Thousands of people braved cold weather to enjoy the blossoms, a highlight of the capital’s cultural calendar. Cherry trees bloomed along the Tidal Basin in Washington yesterday. Thousands of people braved cold weather to enjoy the blossoms, a highlight of the capital’s cultural calendar. (Jewel Samad/ AFP/ Getty Images)
Associated Press / April 3, 2011

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WASHINGTON — President Obama says shifting the United States away from imported oil and toward cleaner forms of energy will add momentum to a trend that has led to 1.8 million new jobs in the past 13 months.

Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address yesterday to promote his ideas for bringing down gasoline prices by decreasing US dependence on foreign oil.

A blueprint he outlined in a recent speech calls for increasing domestic oil exploration and production, making cars and trucks more energy efficient, and building vehicles that run on alternative fuels or electricity.

Noting that the United States doesn’t have enough oil reserves to meet its needs, he set a goal of reducing imports by one-third by 2025.

“By doing so, we’re going to make our economy less vulnerable to wild swings in oil prices,’’ Obama said. “We’re going to use cleaner sources of energy that don’t imperil our climate. And we’re going to spark new products and businesses all over the country by tapping America’s greatest renewable resource: our ingenuity.’’

Oil prices and gasoline have climbed because of increasing demand in China and instability in some oil-producing countries in the Middle East.

The government reported Friday that 230,000 private sector jobs were created in March, bringing the total number created in the past 13 months to 1.8 million. The national unemployment rate also dipped to a two-year low of 8.8 percent last month.

“That’s a good sign,’’ Obama said. “But we have to keep up the momentum, and transitioning to a clean energy economy will help us do that.’’

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, focused his party’s weekly message on steps he said the government must take to encourage small businesses to create jobs.

Among those steps are continuing to cut spending, blocking tax increases, reducing the bureaucracy, and eliminating regulations. Boehner once owned a small plastics and packaging business in Ohio.

Boehner said Congress also must pass a bill funding the government through Sept. 30, when the budget year ends, and avoid a shutdown. The government’s authority to spend money expires next Friday.

“Washington’s inability to get spending under control is creating uncertainty for our job creators,’’ Boehner said. “It’s discouraging investment in small businesses and eroding confidence in our economy.’’

It’s official — almost: President to seek 2d term
WASHINGTON — President Obama is about to make one of Washington’s worst kept secrets official: He wants a second term.

Democratic officials familiar with the president’s plans said yesterday that Obama intends to file papers as early as this week with the Federal Election Commission to launch his 2012 reelection campaign.

The officials asked not to be identified in order to speak before the papers are filed.

That widely anticipated but formal step of registering with the FEC will free Obama to start raising money for the reelection effort, which, like his 2008 campaign, will be run from Chicago.

That fund-raising already has begun. Obama netted $1.5 million at a Democratic fund-raiser in New York’s Harlem this past week.

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