Obama vows to shift economy into overdrive

SCHENECTADY, New York (AFP) – President Barack Obama claimed the role of champion of US businesses Friday, vowing to slip the economy into "overdrive" and enlisting corporate America in his crusade to create jobs.

Obama named General Electric CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Immelt to head a new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in his latest conciliatory gesture to the business sector following a Republican mid-term election rout.

"The past two years were about pulling our economy back from the brink," Obama said after touring a GE plant in upstate New York, which manufactures hardware for solar, steam and wind power energy industries.