Ever since it was announced that the jobless rate increased from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent, President Obama and his campaign have been on the offensive while the Romney campaign has been seeing blood in the water. President Obama took over the White House briefing room, offering another stern rebuke to Congress for not passing all of the provisions of his American Jobs Bill.
Specifically, the president supports provisions that would have allowed cash-strapped states to put more teachers, police officers and firemen back to work. He also supports funding for infrastructure projects which would have provided additional construction jobs.
Obama believes that if the jobs bill had passed in its entirety, a million public sector jobs would have been added to the economy. But partisan wrangling and visceral election year politics have killed realistic prospects for any kind of a compromise on the matter.
“Now if Congress decides that they aren’t going to do anything about this simply because it’s an election year, then they should explain to the American people why,” Obama said.
The president made no new announcements during his brief statement but there was a new sense of urgency in his voice. Today’s speech comes on the heels of a particularly challenging week. The Romney campaign bested the Obama campaign in the fundraising game for the month of May, and former President Bill Clinton made public statements seemingly contradicting the president’s stance on extending the Bush tax cuts.
But the president seemed to downplay what, if any, implications recent events may have on the upcoming election. “There’s going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future,” he said. “But right now people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our country strong, and that requires some action on the part of Congress.”
In the end, there is no way to know if today’s speech will give the American people confidence in knowing that the economy is in good hands. It will take something more impactful to move past the gridlock that now defines the way business is done on Capitol Hill.
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(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)