President Barack Obama has made his most direct challenge yet to opposition Republicans to approve his plan to stimulate the U.S. economy. President did so in the home state of one of the top Republican presidential contenders.
President Obama visited the Southwestern state of Texas on Tuesday to promote his American Jobs Act, and to raise money for his 2012 re-election campaign.
At a community college near Dallas, Texas, Obama issued a challenge to one of his fiercest critics, House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The second-ranking House Republican said Monday that Republican lawmakers would consider parts of the president’s jobs bill, but not the entire $447 billion package.
In Texas, Obama said Cantor should be held responsible for blocking progress on the initiative.
“I would like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what, exactly, in this jobs bill does he not believe in," said President Obama. "What, exactly, is he opposed to?"
The president said his plan would create jobs in education, construction, and other parts of the economy. In some of his sharpest criticism yet, he challenged the majority leader to explain his stand to a newly-unemployed teacher, who Mr. Obama said would be helped by his bill.
“Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas and look Kim Russell in the eye and tell her why she does not deserve to be back in the classroom, doing what she loves-helping our kids," said Obama. "Come tell her students why they do not deserve to have their teacher back. Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting idle instead of out there on the job.”
Cantor said Monday that what he called the president’s all-or-nothing approach toward promoting the jobs bill is unreasonable. He said the bill will not pass in its entirety, and that Congress and the White House should instead work together on passing the parts they both support.
Republicans also object to the president’s proposal to pay for his initiative largely through tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals.
Meanwhile, the president’s political troubles continue. An ABC News / Washington Post opinion poll shows that only 37 percent of Americans expect Mr. Obama to be re-elected next year. Fifty-five percent believe the Republican nominee will win.
Mr. Obama’s visit to Texas was targeted not only at Cantor, but also at the state’s governor, Rick Perry, one of the leading candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Texas has voted strongly for Republican candidates in recent national elections. But Democrats are hoping that the growing number of Hispanics in the state will help reduce their disadvantage.
As with many of his other trips, the president incorporated political fundraising events in Tuesday’s trip to Texas and Missouri.