Obama: 'Gov't Can Help by...Educating our Children From the Earliest Years'

By Susan Jones | June 13, 2013 | 5:52am EDT

President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Ed Markey wave during a campaign rally For Markey in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, Wednesday, June 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(CNSNews.com) - The private sector may drive the economy, but government also has a key role to play, President Obama told an enthusiastic crowd of Democrats in Boston on Wednesday.

"When people say the whole problem is government, they don't understand," Obama said at a fundraiser for U.S. Senate hopeful Ed Markey.

"Government can help by establishing smart priorities, by making smart choices, by investing in American manufacturing so we're bringing more of our jobs back from overseas -- investing in our roads and our bridges and our ports to make sure that we are staying competitive all around the world, educating our children from the earliest years, keeping them safe from gun violence, rethinking our high schools, making college more affordable -- making sure we stay at the cutting edge in science and technology, securing our energy future, addressing climate change. There are some things that government can do that'll help middle-class families."

Obama said all those issues can be resolved, but for "inaction in Washington."

As CNSNews.com has reported, the Obama administration is aggressively pushing a $75-billion plan to provide high-quality preschool for every child to reduce "achievement gaps" between rich and poor.

The U.S. Department of Education will allocate dollars to states based their share of four-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and funds would be distributed to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program.

The proposal also encourages states to expand the availability of full-day kindergarten.

Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said children who don't get a pre-kindergarten education will fall behind and "may as well drop out" by third grade.

Obama, in his Boston speech, also defined what it means to be a Democrat:

"Most Americans aren't asking for a lot. They -- they know they've got to take care of themselves. They just want to make sure that if they're -- they're working hard, they can get ahead. That's -- that's the essence of what it means to be a Democrat."

The president praised Rep. Ed Markey as someone who is going to "help keep weapons of war off the streets."

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