Obama asks congress to 'skip the drama' on tax cuts (VIDEO)

US President Barack Obama hold up a tomato during a stop at Berry's Produce on July 14, 2012 in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Obama is campaigning in Virginia ahead of the November presidential election.</p>

US President Barack Obama hold up a tomato during a stop at Berry's Produce on July 14, 2012 in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Obama is campaigning in Virginia ahead of the November presidential election.

President Barack Obama asked congress to “skip the unnecessary drama” and extend middle-class tax cuts beyond Jan. 1, using his weekly address to continue promoting his economic policies.

He also spent more time portraying Republicans as wealthy elites who want nothing more than to line their own pockets.

“They (the GOP) believe that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, it’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and training and by raising middle-class taxes,” Obama said.

“What we need are policies that will grow and strengthen the middle class; that will help create jobs, make education and training more affordable, and encourage businesses to start up and stay right here in the United States.”

Tax cuts on the first $250,000 earned – a George W. Bush policy – are set to expire on Jan. 1 unless congress extends them.

Obama said Republicans want breaks for the top two percent of Americans, but under his plan, those would can afford it will pay a little more.

It’s just common sense, he said, and that’s why his government has reduced taxes $3,600 since he took office.

Obama also alluded to America’s prosperity under Bill Clinton, saying the richest Americans will pay the same taxes they did when the nation enjoyed nearly 23 million new jobs, the largest budget surplus in history “and millionaires were doing pretty well.”

More from GlobalPost: Obama promising to help small business

“Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy,” said the president. “Let’s skip the unnecessary drama, the needless delays and all the partisan posturing and let’s just do the right thing for the people who sent us here to serve.”

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman offered the Republican reply.

He said Obama’s Affordable Care Act would do the opposite of what the president says he’s avoiding, raise middle-class tax.

“Raising taxes on employers and the middle class, growing government at the expense of free enterprise, piling on new regulations that increase the cost of doing business – these burdens make it harder, not easier, to create jobs in America,” Portman said, CBS reported.

Many consider Portman a leading candidate to become Romney’s running mate in November, USA Today said.

He spent about two years working for George W. Bush, first as trade representative and then budget director.

“Instead of focusing on growing jobs and reigniting our economy, President Obama focused on growing government and tried to remake the United States into the image of the debt-laden countries of Europe,” Portman said.