"I want to work with Congress on this agenda where I can," he said. "But in this year of action, whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, I will. I’ve got a pen and a phone – a pen to take executive action, and a phone to rally citizens and business leaders who are eager to create new jobs and new opportunities. And we’ve already begun."
Obama proceeded to list several areas where he has already acted without Congress.
"In Wisconsin," he said, "I ordered an across-the-board reform of our training programs to train folks with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now."
He also touted his new “my-RA," a new type of retirement program where workers can invest in government savings bonds -- and nothing else.
"In Maryland," he added, "I rallied the leaders of some of America’s biggest tech companies to help us make sure all our kids have access to high-speed internet and up-to-date technology to help them learn the skills they need for the new economy."
He also said he has directed the federal government to disregard the length of time a job candidate has been unemployed.
Decrying what he called "stale political arguments," Obama tried to reassure viewers his unilateral actions are a good thing for Americans.
"So when you hear me talk about using my pen and my phone to make a difference for middle class Americans and those working to get into the middle class, that’s what I mean," he said. "And I’m going to keep asking students and parents and business leaders to help – because there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, ready to move this country forward, and determined to restore the founding vision of opportunity for all."
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