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Obama agenda: $50b infrastructure plan

"President Obama called yesterday for Congress to approve major upgrades to the nation’s roads, rail lines, and runways, part of a six-year plan that would seek to boost jobs, cost tens of billions of dollars, and create a government-run bank to finance innovative transportation projects," The Boston Globe reports. "With Democrats facing an increasingly bleak midterm election season, Obama used a speech at a union gathering on Labor Day, the traditional start of the campaign season, to outline his plan. It calls for a quick infusion of $50 billion in government spending that White House officials said could spur job growth as early as next year if Congress approves."

The New York Times: “Central to the plan is the president’s call for an ‘infrastructure bank,’ which would be run by the government but would pool tax dollars with private investment, the White House says. Mr. Obama embraced the idea as a senator; with unemployment still high despite an array of government efforts, the concept has lately been gaining traction in policy circles and on Capitol Hill. Indeed, some leading proponents of such a bank — including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican of California; Gov. Ed Rendell, Democrat of Pennsylvania; and Michael R. Bloomberg, the independent mayor of New York -- would like to see it finance a broader range of projects, including water and clean-energy projects.”

The New York Post mocks the president's idea, calling him the "Pothole Prez" on its cover.

The Washington Post notes that Obama also was in campaign mode yesterday. “Obama defended his record and criticized Republicans and his Washington foes as opponents of the middle class ‘who talk about me like a dog.’ He told several thousand cheering labor union members that the Republican Party is peddling failed economic policies, and he vowed to ‘make this case across the country between now and November.’” ‘Their slogan,’ he said of Republicans, ‘is 'No, we can't. No, no, no. No.’” The crowd answered by chanting Obama's signature 2008 slogan, ‘Yes, we can.’”

"The United States expects to spend about $6 billion a year training and supporting Afghan troops and police after it begins withdrawing its own combat troops in 2011," AP writes. "The estimates of U.S. spending through 2015, detailed in a NATO training mission document, are an acknowledgment that Afghanistan will remain largely dependent on the United States for its security."

"A group that opposes secrecy in government says the federal government significantly reduced its backlog of document requests from the public last year, but also slowed its pace of opening previously confidential material to public view," AP reports. "A report Tuesday from OpenTheGovernment.org said the government's record is mixed, but suggested the Obama administration could be less secretive than its predecessor, the Bush administration."