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Hoosiers preview Obama speech

Two Hoosier congressmen offered their views on President Obama's jobs speech long before he gave it Thursday.

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., weighed in more than 24 hours before the address to a joint session of Congress.

"Now is the time for President Obama to abandon his failed economic policies and work with Congress to hit the 'reset' button," Coats said Wednesday in a statement.

He said he hoped Obama would offer "a new approach to strengthen our economy, not more failed stimulus spending and tax hikes."

Coats also called on Obama to eliminate business regulations and approve free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

"These are solutions that will help spur job creation and get our economy moving again," he said.

Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, who is running for the Senate seat occupied by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., put the onus on Congress as much as the president to boost job growth.

"Congress has just as much responsibility as the president to do what it can to help folks get back to work and encourage businesses large and small to invest in the American people and American equipment," Donnelly said in a statement Wednesday.

Donnelly touted two bills he has sponsored. One would give tax credits to businesses that hire workers in counties with jobless rates of 8.5 percent or more. The other would align federal training funds with jobs and skills in highest demand in local areas.

He also advocated making permanent the research-and-development tax credit, and "cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation."

Neither Donnelly nor Coats made reference to two key points expected in Obama's speech -- the extension of middle-class tax cuts and the ramping up of public infrastructure repairs in an attempt to create construction jobs.