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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More