WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pledging to revive a "rising, thriving middle class," President Barack Obama is promising to create new jobs without raising the federal deficit, calling for a "smarter government" but not a bigger one.
In excerpts released ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union address, Obama called job creation his "North Star" and implored a divided Congress to center its work on attracting more jobs to the U.S., equipping Americans to compete for those positions and making sure hard work leads to a decent living.
"It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country -- the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love," Obama said.
The president said his proposals to increase spending on manufacturing, infrastructure and clean-energy technologies would be fully paid for, though he did not specify in the excerpts how he would offset the cost of his proposals.
"Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime," Obama said. "It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth."