President Obama is working hard promoting his plan to get Americans working again. So much so that the president made a surprise appearance Monday afternoon at a White House panel discussion about how African-Americans can benefit from The American Jobs Act that was sent to Congress on Monday.
During the town hall session, participants' questions centered on how hard the president is prepared to fight to get a divided Congress to support the bill. The questions were promoted by concerns from Black lawmakers and others that the president is too willing to compromise with Republicans, resulting in the debt ceiling battle, for example, that has left him politically bruised, and has in some cases he has even caved on such issues as raising taxes on the nation’s top earners and corporations. (Related Video: Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett discusess the jobs bill)
But Obama appears to have learned some important lessons from previous skirmishes on Capitol Hill and is working overtime to ensure that he does not lose control of the messaging as he and Democrats did when trying to push his health care bill. He made a Rose Garden speech earlier in the day and will take his message on the road to Ohio and North Carolina this week.
After detailing some of the highlights of his plan that he says will create and save jobs, help small businesses expand and aid struggling homeowners, Obama directed the audience to go home and “pump” it up. He said that though the economy has stabilized, the unemployment rate is still too high and too many people are still hurting. He also acknowledged the uphill battle he faces in Congress, and preparing the groundwork to put lawmakers who oppose him on the defensive.
“There’s going to be enormous resistance and right now our politics makes it tougher to get things done here in Washington unless the voices of the American people are heard,” Obama said. “I need people to be out here promoting this and pushing this and making sure everybody understands the details of what this would mean so that one of two things happens: Either Congress gets it done or if Congress doesn’t get it done, people know exactly what’s holding it up and we’re able to continue to apply pressure so that we can actually do what’s right for the economy.”
(Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett discusses The American Jobs Act