Obama: Middle-Class Jobs Must Be Our 'North Star' In excerpts, he says initiatives won't increase the deficit a 'single dime' By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 12, 2013 5:36 PM CST 73 comments Comments President Obama waves as he walks down the West Wing Colonnade of the White House Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Newser) – It's not clear how specific President Obama will get in laying out initiatives to create jobs in his State of the Union Address, but excerpts released by the White House make clear he intends to make the concept a key talking point—and he insists it won't increase the deficit. Highlights, from the Wall Street Journal: “It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth—a rising, thriving middle class." "It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country—the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love." “A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs—that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?” "Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.” Marco Rubio, meanwhile, thinks Obama's vision would actually hurt the middle class. Read excerpts of his GOP response. Earlier, the White House leaked news that Obama will announce he's bringing home about half the US troops in Afghanistan within a year. Pundits, of course, have plenty of advice on all topics.