At Sub Shop, Obama Makes Case For Small Business Aid


President Barack Obama is making his case for more small-business aid from a sub shop in central New Jersey.

President Barack Obama
Photo By: Pete Souza

Obama ordered at the counter at Tastee Sub Shop, a blue-and-white, one-story restaurant in Edison.

He went for the "Super Sub" but begged off on getting the 12-inch size, noting that he is about to turn 49 and needed to go for a sandwich one-half the size.

The president was eating lunch with business owners, including the owner of the sandwich shop, before giving a statement to reporters.

Obama is promoting a legislative package that would provide more capital and tax relief for small businesses.

He is in New Jersey en route to New York for two high-dollar fundraisers to help Democrats in this election campaign season.

White House officials say Obama will campaign vigorously throughout the nation ahead of the fall elections.

"The fall campaign boils down to a choice between those who want to keep moving forward and those that want to take us back to the policies that got us into this mess," said White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer. "The president will help make that case across the country."

Wednesday's fundraisers in New York are closed to the media, as was a similar event Tuesday night in Washington. White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One that the fundraisers are closed because Obama will not be making formal remarks.

When asked about the image of Obama's attending two high-dollar fundraisers while much of the country is still struggling with the recession, Burton said, "Obviously we're focused on the economy today. This evening the president is doing what the president traditionally does, which is helping to raise money for the campaign season as things approach."

Obama's election-year argument is taking shape: Despite unemployment that continues to hover near 10 percent,he wants voters to make a choice in November between his policies, which he says are pointing the country in the right direction, and those of the GOP, which he says led the country into recession in the first place.

Among the areas where the White House sees an opportunity to draw a line between the two parties is the lending initiative that Obama says will spur hiring and job growth by helping small businesses.

The measure pending in the Senate would create a new lending fund to help community banks offer loans, help states encourage more private-sector lending and eliminate capital gains taxes for certain investments in small businesses, among other steps.

While two Republican senators joined with Democrats last week to advance the measure, other GOP lawmakers have called the bill another bank bailout that would do little to increase lending to small businesses.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he hopes to schedule a Senate vote on the bill for Wednesday evening, though he would need Republican support to vote that soon. Republican leaders said they would like the opportunity to offer amendments.