President Barack Obama on Tuesday continued his effort to raise public
support for his plan to stimulate the U.S. economy and ease
unemployment. The president took the campaign to the Midwestern state of
Ohio, which could be vital to his reelection.
Obama outlines how passing the American Jobs Act will grow the economy
and create jobs.
President Obama spoke in what is becoming a familiar setting - a rally
of about 3,000 people calling for passage of his American Jobs Act.
“This is a plan that does two things. It puts people back to work and it
puts more money in the pockets of working Americans,” Mr. Obama said.
The rally took place in Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, at a
recently-reconstructed high school. Mr. Obama highlighted the part of
his plan that calls for spending to build and renovate the nation’s
“There are construction projects like these all across the country, just
waiting to get started. And there are millions of unemployed
construction workers who are looking for a job. So my question to
Congress is: What on Earth are we waiting for?,” president said.
Mr. Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan faces opposition from Republicans and
uncertain support from Democrats in Congress.
The top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, says the
jobs plan is not serious and is geared more toward Mr. Obama’s
reelection than addressing the nation’s economic problems. He also
questioned whether it would work.
“In reality, all he is doing is just proposing a hodgepodge of retread
[previous] ideas, aimed at convincing people that a temporary fix is
really permanent and that it will create permanent jobs, and then daring
Republicans to vote against it,” McConnell said.
Democratic Senator Richard Durbin defended the president's plan, saying
it would help the economy.
“I do not think the Republican leader is fair in calling this a
hodgepodge. I think it is a carefully constructed plan to get this
economy moving forward. What really troubles the Republican leader, and
I know he said as much this morning, is that President Obama pays for
it,” Durbin said.
Some aspects of the plan would be paid for through a tax increase for
wealthy Americans, which Republicans strongly oppose. Top Republican
lawmakers say they will not pass the entire plan, but would consider
approving parts of it.
White House officials say the president would be open to signing any
portions of the plan that Congress passes.
Some of Mr. Obama's fellow Democrats have criticized the president for
not being aggressive enough in fighting for their party’s principles.
Obama’s public approval ratings are the lowest of his presidency, and
the opinion polls show that some of the voters who supported him in 2008
are now considering voting for a Republican presidential candidate.
Tuesday’s visit to Ohio is the second of at least three trips the
president is making to promote his plan in so-called “battleground”
states, where elections are often decided. Last week, he made a similar
speech in Virginia, and a third is scheduled for Wednesday in North
Ohio is also the home state of the Republican Speaker of the House of
Representatives, John Boehner. Mr. Obama’s previous economic speech was
in the home state of the number-two House Republican, Eric Cantor of