What's in a Speech? President Obama's Major Addresses to Congress

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On Sept. 8, 2011, President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act before a joint session of Congress. The legislation was in part a response to Republican critics who for months had challenged Obama to show them a plan. The $447 billion proposal featured a mix of tax cuts for businesses and workers, expanded aid for the long-term unemployed and workers, and billions in infrastructure spending and aid to states. "It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services," he said. It was also the start of a feistier Obama, who took his message on the road, challenging congressional Republicans to pass his bill or explain to the American public why they won’t. Black unemployment that month dipped slightly from 16.7 to 16.0, while the national rate was stuck at 9.1 percent.

(Photo:  Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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