Congressional battles ongoing, Obama heads to Florida to talk jobs, economy

11:04 AM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS NEWS) -- After a long week in Washington touting his controversial agenda for immigration reform and new gun safety laws, President Obama heads Friday to Miami - where he'll speak at one of the city's major ports, and potentially redirect some focus to his push to create new jobs.

On Thursday, the president delivered a passionate, forceful speech shaming Congress for going "squishy" on the gun control debate in the aftermath of last year's Newtown shootings; the previous day, he spoke to two Spanish-language television channels about immigration reform and the recent Supreme Court cases governing marriage equality.

Today, at the Port of Miami, he'll reiterate more familiar themes to his presidency - about the importance of innovation and infrastructure in building a job-friendly economy.

"As you know, the president believes that even as we pursue balanced deficit reduction, we need to make smart, targeted investments to create jobs and boost our economy," Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, said on Thursday. "Tomorrow, at the Port of Miami, the president will continue to flesh out some of his - some of his detailed proposals to do just that."

Earnest called the event a "good opportunity" for Mr. Obama to "illustrate the value, both in the short term and the long term, of the important infrastructure investments" for which he's long been pushing.

"The port of Miami is a major center of commerce, an example of the critical infrastructure improvements that are being undertaken to remain competitive in the global marketplace using the types of combined investments form the federal government, state governments and local governments, and private investors," he said. " One of [the] investments that he discussed in his State of the Union address is the need to put Americans back to work... right away, building the infrastructures that American business, and American workers need to compete and win in a global 21st century economy."

The visit may be a fairly routine one, but Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is using it as an opportunity to take a swing at the president - and hit him up for some money, too.

"We're certainly glad President Obama's coming to the Port of Miami tomorrow but he's late to the party on Florida port investments," Scott said, according to the Palm Beach Post. "State taxpayers have stepped up time and time again to fund the federal share of projects."

According to the Post, Scott, a deficit hawk who has criticized the president for spending above the government's means, is asking the president to reimburse Florida for $75 million worth of investments in ports that he said were essential to job creation in the state. He said the money would be reinvested into similar future projects.

"We could not wait for the federal government to come to the table with their share of this project," Scott said. 

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