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Obama Calls for Americans to Mark 9/11 With Service Projects

President Barack Obama is asking Americans in the next two weeks to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by participating in local charity and service projects.

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11,” the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address. He directed people to the website for volunteer opportunities.

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada used the weekly Republican address to criticize Obama’s policies as a “big, wet blanket” on the economy. Heller renewed Republican calls for Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment, which Obama and congressional Democrats oppose. Heller also called for repeal of Obama’s health-care expansion, increased domestic energy exploration and less federal regulation.

The addresses are being released as Hurricane Irene headed for landfall in North Carolina today. It is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves along the Mid-Atlantic coast tomorrow, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said yesterday.

Irene may cause $10 billion in overall economic losses, according to estimates by Kinetic Analysis Corp. A more easterly track and less intensity puts the company’s projected insured losses at $5.6 billion.

More than 65 million people, or about one in five Americans, from North Carolina to Maine may be in the way of the hurricane, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Obama Urges Common Purpose

A decade after the terrorist attacks, Obama said, the U.S. is “working to rebuild the foundation of our national strength here at home. None of this will be easy. And it can’t be the work of government alone.  As we saw after 9/11, the strength of America has always been the character and compassion of our people.”

“So as we mark this solemn anniversary, let’s summon that spirit once more,” he said. “And let’s show that the sense of common purpose that we need in America doesn’t have to be a fleeting moment; it can be a lasting virtue -- not just on one day, but every day.”

Heller said in his address that Congress should support “pro-growth policies that place more money in the pockets of Americans” and assist those “who have lost their jobs and need help.”

He called for a tax-code overhaul to eliminate “special-interest loopholes” and reduce “the overall tax burden on all Americans.” He didn’t offer additional details.

“I believe our best days are still ahead, but we need to change course now,” Heller said.

He said Democrats should support changes to reduce the growth of Medicare and Social Security spending and “stop the lies about who wants to end Medicare or eliminate Social Security and fix both programs now. Every member of Congress knows these programs are unsustainable in their current state.”

“They can be fixed, but the lies have to stop,” Heller said. “Nobody is proposing that we end Medicare or Social Security.”

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