Obama Strikes Back

A fired-up President Obama used a Labor Day address to roll out a new jobs program and bash opponents.

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BY Erin Einhorn
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

A fired-up President Obama used a Labor Day address to roll out a new jobs program - and to trash opponents he says have called him "a dog."

"They're not always happy with me," he said of the powerful interests he says he's taken on as President. "They talk about me like a dog."

As Democrats face the possibility of losing both houses of Congress in November's midterm elections, Obama delivered one of his most combative speeches in months at a union rally in Milwaukee.

Appearing in a blue-collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, he denounced Republicans for driving the car of the nation's economy into a ditch, then standing around "sipping on a Slurpee" while he's tried to push it out.

"We finally got the car up. ... Then they got the nerve to ask for the keys back!" the President said. "They don't know how to drive."

Obama's latest solution to the nation's economic woes is a $50 billion investment in the nation's infrastructure - a kind of ministimulus bill that would rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of railway and 150 miles of airport runways.

His plan, which would need congressional approval, immediately met with resistance from Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who said the plan "should be met with justifiable skepticism" because it would raise taxes. [See which industries donate the most to McConnell.]

John Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, said, "We need to end Washington Democrats' out-of-control spending spree."

Democrats acknowledged that without Republican support, the proposal isn't likely to become law this year, but local leaders said they would welcome additional funding for New York's roads and rails.

"New York has done particularly well in previous infrastructure bills, and I expect the same would happen in this," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said, "An investment like high-speed rail will create not only the jobs of the moment, but long-term economic growth opportunities." [See who donates the most money to Gillibrand.]

It's not clear how much of the $50 billion might come to New York, but the city gained about $7 billion from Obama's major $787billion stimulus plan in 2009.

"Everything makes a difference," Gov. Paterson said at Monday's West Indian American Day Carnival Parade, where he said he discussed the President's proposal with Gillibrand.

"I have already gotten in touch with our transportation commissioner and we will have our application in tomorrow morning if they want it," the governor said.