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Obama Seeks to Ease Public Doubts on Jobs Plan

President Barack Obama points to the crowd following his speech at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 14, 2011.
President Barack Obama points to the crowd following his speech at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 14, 2011.

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Kent Klein

For the third time in a week, President Barack Obama is campaigning for his jobs plan in a state that could be crucial to his re-election effort.  Meanwhile, a new poll shows that more than half of Americans do not think the plan will help reduce unemployment.

President Obama took his economic message to the southern state of North Carolina.  At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, the president again urged his audience to contact their lawmakers and express their support for his jobs initiative.

"We have got to kick off our bedroom slippers and put on our marching shoes," said Obama.  "We have got to get to work."

Obama's $447-billion program is intended to boost growth in the sluggish U.S. economy and to reduce the 9.1-percent unemployment rate.

The president faces opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress to his plan to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to pay for some of the initiatives.

In Raleigh, Obama called for citizens to back the plan.  "Do you want to keep tax loopholes for oil companies or do you want to renovate more schools and rebuild more roads and bridges so construction workers have jobs again?"  he asked.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have said they may support some parts of the American Jobs Act, but not all of it.  White House officials say the president will sign whatever parts are passed, but will continue campaigning for passage of the entire package.

North Carolina has been identified as one of the states where next year's presidential election could be decided.  Obama's previous jobs speeches were in two other battleground states, Ohio and Virginia.

Unemployment in North Carolina is 10.1 percent, one point above the national average.

New public-opinion polls indicate the president faces more trouble nationwide.  A recent Bloomberg poll shows that more than half of Americans (51%) doubt Obama's jobs plan will ease unemployment.  According to the survey, 62 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, and his overall job approval rating is at an all-time low of 45 percent.

But a new CNN poll shows that more people approve of Obama's jobs plan than disapprove (43% vs 35%).  And it says that on economic matters, more Americans trust the president than Congress.

But the CNN survey says the president's overall disapproval rating has reached a new high with more than 70 percent surveyed saying the country is heading in the wrong direction.  Only 36 percent like his handling of the economy.

Congress' approval rating is even worse, moving down to 15 percent.

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