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Obama vows $210 billion for ‘green,’ building jobs

From the Associated Press

Sen. Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries.

Obama’s investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called green-collar jobs; $60 billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. He estimated it could generate about 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry.

“This agenda is paid for,” Obama said. He said the money for his spending proposals would come from ending the Iraq war, cutting tax breaks for corporations, taxing carbon pollution and raising taxes on high-income earners.

Obama, who has been criticized for not being specific in his proposed policies, asked autoworkers at the General Motors plant in Janesville to “bear with me” as he began a speech that he said would be unlike his typical rousing addresses.

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“Today I want to take it down a notch,” Obama said. “This is going to be a speech that’s a little more detailed. It’s going to be a little bit longer, not as many applause lines.”

He did not include one of his biggest applause lines -- that he would require vehicle manufacturers to raise fuel-economy standards.

Obama often points out that he delivered that message straight to the automakers during a speech in Detroit last year. But he didn’t mention it on the plant visit, which came a day after GM reported the largest annual loss ever for an American automaker: $38.7 billion in 2007.

“I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday,” Obama said.

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“I also know how much progress you’ve made, how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out.

“And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to retool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another 100 years.”

Obama heads into Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary as the favorite.


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