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Obama spotlights business tax credit

He also employed immediacy when previewing the White House's efforts to educate the public on the tax credit. "This month, we're going to be sending out details on how to apply for this credit to millions of small businesses across the county," he said.

Obama urged critics to curtail their claims of the bill's fruitlessness until its provisions have time to take effect, singling out the media for its impatience.

"You have to love some of the pundits in Washington," said a grinning Obama. "Every day since I signed reform into law, there's another poll or headline that says, 'Nation still divided on health-care reform.' 'Polls haven't changed yet.' Well, yeah," he continued, as the audience laughed. "It just happened last week!"

He continued, veering off his prepared remarks: "Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm? You planted some seeds, and they came out the next day, and they looked and they said, 'Nothing's happened! There's no crop! We're gonna starve! Oh no! It's a disaster!"

Continuing to vamp, Obama said, "Before we find out if people like health-care reform, we should wait to see what happens when we actually put it into place. Just a thought."

As he deplored the opposition's tactics of "fearmongering and overheated rhetoric," Obama called out one congressional Republican -- House Minority Leader John Boehner -- by name. As the crowd drowned him out with booing, Obama tried to calm them. "You don't need to boo," he said, adding that he was just giving the facts.

While the speech was intended to roll out the health bill's tax-cut provision, which is estimated to save small businesses $40 billion by 2019, Obama also took the opportunity to remind his audience of another reform that will have short-term effects: a re-working of the student loan industry estimated to recover $68 billion from banks and financial-services companies.

"That's now going to go to the student-loan program to expand Pell Grants," Obama said, "and to make sure that college is affordable for every person in America."