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Obama says US can take steps to help more people join, stay in middle class

President Barack Obama arrives talks with with PG&E apprentice electrician Erick Varela, a U.S. Army combat infantryman in Iraq, center, as Vice President Joe Biden, left, applauds in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Washington, before President Obama spoke about helping the long-term unemployed. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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President Barack Obama arrives talks with with PG&E apprentice electrician Erick Varela, a U.S. Army combat infantryman in Iraq, center, as Vice President Joe Biden, left, applauds in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Washington, before President Obama spoke about helping the long-term unemployed. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says the U.S. can take steps to ensure more people can join and stay in the middle class.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama is echoing themes from his State of the Union address. He says some of his ideas require Congress, but he'll take steps on his own where he can.

Obama says his economic priorities include creating new jobs and improving job training. Expanding access to kindergarten and college is another priority, along with ensuring workers have good wages, health care and retirement options.

In the Republican address, four members of Congress are urging Obama to support bills on jobs, medical research, compensation and energy. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan says the Senate is standing in the way.

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Online:

Obama address: www.whitehouse.gov

Republican address: www.youtube.com/HouseConference

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