Obama, GOP congressional candidate talk about the free market

With just more than a week to go before the election, Republicans and Democrats sparred Saturday over how best to turn the economy around.

The weekly Republican address comes from Ann Wagner, a GOP candidate for Congress in Missouri, who urged government regulators to get out of the way of job creators as a route to recovery.

In his Saturday morning address, President Obama cites Wall Street as an example of when restriction of the free market is appropriate – and, he says, vital to ensure a level playing field.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, candidates and surrogates are talking about social issues. And campaign operatives this weekend are focused on the storm headed toward the East Coast and how it might complicate their efforts to turn out their vote.

But the Saturday morning exchange is about the economy, the bottom line in this election, and how the parties’ differing philosophies apply.

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Wagner, a former ambassador to Luxembourg and past chair of her state party, draws on her experience growing up working in her family’s small retail carpet business to argue for a smaller, less intrusive government.

“I saw my father deal with every headache the government threw his way – whether it had to do with the signs on the front of the building or the prices on the showroom floor,” she says. “He knew he could do better, if government would just get out of the way – and stay out of the way. He was right. When we get government off the backs of our job creators, small businesses have a better chance of thriving. And when small businesses thrive, so does our economy."

She also argues that “instead of raising taxes, we ought to fix our 72,000-page monstrosity of a tax code so we can keep jobs here and bring jobs home that have gone overseas.”

Actually, Mitt Romney and the president agree on the need for tax reform that would lower the corporate tax rate and close a number of loopholes. Obama thinks the wealthy should pick up a little more of the burden in the process.

His focus Saturday morning was on how Wall Street reform is protecting consumers and promoting fair competition.

“I believe that the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history, and that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not the government,” he says.

“But I also believe that the free market has never been about taking whatever you want, however you can get it,” he goes on. “Alongside our innovative spirit, America only prospers when we meet certain obligations to one another, and when we all play by the same set of rules.”

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