President Obama took his "jobs" message to Ohio on Tuesday, where he highlighted one of the goals of his plan — to bring the nation’s public schools into the 21st century. He had a message for Congress, too: Pass this bill! The refrain, which the president used repeatedly when he announced the details of his American Jobs Act last week, helped give his visit to the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Center in Columbus a campaign feel, as he and audience members shouted it multiple times.
The bill, which Obama delivered to Congress the day before, includes $25 billion to modernize public schools from the inside out. If it passes, at least 35,000 schools would benefit through building renovations, repairs and technology upgrades. It also would create jobs for tens of thousands of construction workers. In fact, the high school where the president delivered his remarks underwent a makeover just a few years ago, thanks to federal funding.
“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,” Obama said. “So my question to Congress is, 'What on earth are we waiting for?'”
The president’s trip to Ohio was the third of what is certain to be several trips to politically key states to promote his jobs plan. On Wednesday he’s off to North Carolina. There’s little doubt to political observers that Obama appears to be sincere in his desire to fix the nation’s ailing economy but, obviously, such visits also give him the opportunity to position himself as the "reasonable adult" whose top concern is putting people back to work and helping them stay in their homes while a fractious, divided Congress debates his bill’s merits.
Obama has frequently accused Republicans of being more concerned about their own jobs and with seeing him fail than they are about jobs for the nation’s millions of unemployed. It’s a charge that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus often makes about Obama, who on Tuesday he called “the consummate campaigner-in-chief.”
"I don't think anyone should be surprised that he's not stopping in North Dakota, Montana and Nebraska to sell his Stimulus 2 package," Priebus said in a conference call with reporters, citing three states in which Obama has never been competitive.
(Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)