News / USA

Obama Tries to Pressure GOP on Jobs

President Obama during a Labor Day event in Detroit, Michigan, September 5, 2011 (file photo).
President Obama during a Labor Day event in Detroit, Michigan, September 5, 2011 (file photo).

U.S. President Barack Obama has a lot riding on the jobs proposal he unveiled to Congress this week. So much that political analysts say his own job could be at risk unless the public perceives some sort of improvement in the economy before next year’s election.

In one of the more impassioned speeches of his presidency, the president told Congress that it is time to put aside divisive politics and work together to get Americans back to work.

“The question is whether in the face of an ongoing national crisis we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy,” he said.

Democrats liked the tone and substance of the $450 billion plan to cut taxes for workers and businesses in hopes of spurring consumer spending and new hiring. Congressional Republicans were generally skeptical, but conservative presidential hopefuls were quick to retort.

“Mr. President, we cannot spend our way to prosperity," said Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry. "It does not work."

The stubbornly high 9.1 percent unemployment rate may be Obama's single largest 2012 obstacle. Even voters who helped to get him elected are skeptical of the president's latest effort to turn the economy around.

“He convinced me to vote for him the first time but we have given him four years and so far nothing has come of it,” said Grace Arroyo, a 2008 supporter.

An eye to 2012

Analyst Tom DeFrank says the president wants to build public pressure on Republicans to go along with at least some of his jobs plan or face the wrath of voters in the 2012 election.

“Obama is hoping that Republicans went home for five weeks this past summer and got an earful from their constituents who said we don’t like you any more than we like President Obama," said DeFrank. "Fix something or you are going to be out of office.  I think he will get some but not all of what he wants.”

Rice University political scientist Paul Brace says the president would prefer to run for re-election with a growing economy. But with that unlikely, Brace says Obama hopes to at least share some of the blame with congressional Republicans.

“His second strategy is to change the debate, shift the blame," he said. "This was a problem that he inherited and the Republicans haven’t worked with him to solve it.  And if he can succeed in that he might have a fighting chance.”

Approval ratings at nadir

In addition to economic headwinds, the president is also dealing with the lowest public approval ratings of his presidency so far, and John Fortier, an expert with the Bipartisan Policy Center, says low poll ratings complicate the task of selling the jobs plan to the public.

“The threat of him going out to the country and making his case is somewhat of an idle one," said Fortier. "The economy is not good and the idea that this would dramatically turn around the economy before the election is not so likely.”

The latest Gallup poll found Obama’s approval rating down to 44 percent, with 50 percent of those asked disapproving of his performance in office.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs