ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Pressing his economic case in an election year, President Obama came to Michigan on Wednesday to praise the state’s effort to raise the minimum wage — and to accuse Republicans who oppose that step of standing in the way of prosperity for millions of Americans.
An upbeat Obama struck a distinctly partisan tone at the University of Michigan. Addressing a crowd of 1,400 in a stadium that included many students, Obama cracked jokes about his GOP foes as he touted his plan to raise federal wages to $10.10 per hour.
“You’ve got a choice. You can give America the shaft, or you can give it a raise,” Obama said.
At Obama’s side for his three-hour visit to this Midwest battleground state was Rep. Gary Peters, a Senate candidate embracing the chance to appear with the president before voters this year. Some other Democrats have shied away from Obama amid controversy over his health care plan, but Peters opted to appear with Obama as the president echoed his State of the Union affirmation that no American working full time should live in poverty.
“It would lift millions of people out of poverty right away,” Obama said of his proposal. “It would help millions more work their way out of poverty right away.”
An effort in Michigan would put a measure on the November ballot to increase the state minimum wage from $7.40 to $10.10 an hour. The initiative is backed by voters who have been hit hard by the economic downturn.
Nationally, Obama wants to increase the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.