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Obama calls for 'spirit of innovation'

WASHINGTON — Future economic prosperity depends on building a new, stronger foundation and recapturing the "spirit of innovation," President Barack Obama says.

"Innovation has been essential to our prosperity in the past, and it will be essential to our prosperity in the future," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

The president cited Friday's Commerce Department report showing that in the past few months the economy overall has done "measurably better than expected." He credited his $787 billion economic stimulus program for much of that progress.

"This and the other difficult but important steps that we have taken over the last six months have helped put the brakes on this recession," Obama said. He mentioned his administration's efforts to limit home foreclosures and unlock frozen credit markets to encourage lending to people and businesses, along with the mixture of tax cuts and spending included in the stimulus program.

Obama reminded the nation that full recovery will not happen overnight, but rather will take many more months.

"Even as we rescue this economy, we must work to rebuild it stronger than before," he said. "We've got to build a new foundation strong enough to withstand future economic storms and support lasting prosperity."

That means having the best-educated, highest-skilled workers in the world, a health-care system that fosters innovation by holding the line on costs, building a clean energy economy and investing in research and development, Obama said.

Looking ahead, Obama said he will discuss the foundation he wants to lay when he makes a second presidential visit to Elkhart, Ind., on Wednesday.