Obama: Republicans Want to Emulate China, Roll Back Minimum Wage, Prevent Unionization

By Fred Lucas | January 10, 2012 | 12:58 PM EST

President Barack Obama waves after stepping off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, after returning from a trip to Cleveland. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama accused Republicans of wanting to make America more like China, of seeking to roll back the minimum wage and of wanting to prevent collective bargaining and said the GOP wants to “get rid” of clean air and water rules.

Obama made the comments Monday at a campaign fundraiser at the Capital Hilton in Washington on the eve of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary.

“Republicans in Congress and these candidates, they think that the best way for America to compete for new jobs and businesses is to follow other countries in a race to the bottom,” Obama told a room full of Democratic donors.

“They figure, well, China pays low wages, we should pay low wages,” he continued. “Let’s roll back the minimum wage. Let’s prevent folks from organizing for collective bargaining in this country. Since other countries allow corporations to pollute as much as they want, why not get rid of the protections that ensure our air is clean and our water is clean.”

At the campaign fundraising event, the president also touted his record in office, talking about overhauling the health care system, lifting the ban on gays in the military, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

On regulation, Obama said he does not want more regulations than necessary, but rather “smart government.” By contrast, he repeated his line that Republicans want a “race to the bottom.”

“But I don’t believe a race to the bottom is one that we should be trying to win,” Obama said. “We should be trying to win the race to the top. We should be competing to make sure that we’ve got the best schools in the world, and our workers have the best training and skills in the world, and we’ve got a college education within reach of everybody who wants to go. That’s the race we should be trying to win.”

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The president also touted his “We Can’t Wait,” agenda of taking executive action without congressional authorization when possible. Specifically, he cited the fuel efficiency standards that were unilaterally imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Change is the decision we made to stop waiting for Congress to do something about our oil addiction and go ahead and finally raise fuel efficiency standards on cars, and now, by the next decade we are going to be driving cars that get 55 miles to a gallon,” Obama said. “And that is going to help our environment. That will help our economy. That’s going to help consumers.”

“But we can’t wait,” he later said. “Whenever this Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, I’ve got an obligation as president to do what we can without them. I’ve got an obligation to work on behalf of you and the American people. I’m not going to let members of Congress put party ideology ahead of the people that they were elected to serve – not when there’s this much at stake.”

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