Obama to Speak on Tax Cuts, Economy in NC

By Erica Werner | December 6, 2010 | 11:57 AM EST

President Barack Obama is greeted on the tarmac during his arrival at Greensboro, N.C., Monday, Dec. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama is calling for new investments in education and innovation, a glimpse at a 2011 agenda designed to place the U.S. in a better competitive position in the world.

Obama was scheduled to speak at a community college here where he also planned to press Congress to extend Bush-era tax rates and jobless benefits.

The president's trip to Winston-Salem on Monday comes as the White House and lawmakers are working on a compromise to extend temporarily the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all income brackets. The White House also wants to continue unemployment insurance benefits, which are expiring as well.

A White House official says Obama will renew his opposition Monday to any upper-income tax-cut extension unless unemployment benefits also are extended. The official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Obama's remarks.

Obama's call for investments in education and innovation to boost America's competitiveness with other countries is a prelude to specific initiatives the president will unveil in the months to come, White House spokesman Bill Burton said.

"This is a framing speech to talk about what we should be focused on for the next year," Burton told reporters aboard Air Force One.

He offered no specific examples of the initiatives Obama might promote, but said the president would offer no details in his community college speech.