PITCHMAN IN CHIEF

Obama Courts Small Businesses

For eight years, Bush talked about the "entrepreneurial spirit of America." Now it's Obama's turn. Hitting back at criticism from Republicans that Democratic health-care plans would squeeze small businesses, Obama used his weekly radio address to sell them on reform. According to Obama, Democratic plans would help small businesses overall despite requiring them to provide insurance for their employees or face a fine. He cited the proposed health-insurance exchange, a "marketplace where they can compare the price, quality and services of a wide variety of plans, many of which will provide better coverage at lower costs than the plans they have now" and also pointed to tax credits and subsidies for low-income workers that would help cover costs. In the Republican response, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers warned that any new taxes would be felt in worse unemployment. "Because the Democrats' plan is bankrolled by a small business tax, more jobs will evaporate," she said.