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September 08, 2011 6:55 PM Obama presents ‘American Jobs Act’

By Steve Benen

And here we go…

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(the live feed has been replaced with the video of the speech in its entirety)

My initial take as of 7:59: I’ll have a detailed look at tonight’s speech in the morning, but I wanted to offer a quick, spontaneous, before-I-analyze-it-to-death reaction.

This was an exceptional speech from President Obama. For all the talk about him being too professorial, or too cool, or too reluctant to show a willingness to fight, this was Obama circa 2008 — passion meets vision meets policy. This was, at its core, a address about a policy crisis, but Obama made an emotional appeal.

What’s more, the president’s vision, the “American Jobs Act,” happens to have some really good ideas that, as it turns out, would actually offer a significant boost to the economy.

Perhaps most importantly from a purely ideological perspective, Obama pushed back aggressively against the idea that government is and should be powerless when it comes to creating jobs and growing the economy. A significant chunk of the speech was a defense of the power of government itself to make a positive difference, and it was most welcome given the prevailing political winds.

I also like the fact that there’s going to be a bill that will be on the table. For a variety of reasons, some of them perfectly legitimate, this White House generally prefers to point to a North Star, only to tell Congress, “Go figure out a way to get there.” Not this time. Obama will present, in writing, a specific legislative proposal, which will reportedly total about $450 billion — bigger than rumors suggested, and much closer to what the economy needs.

To be sure, this White House has an enormous amount of work to do, but it sounded tonight like the president intends to do it.

This wasn’t a request of Congress; this wasn’t an appeal to Congress; this was a forceful challenge from an angry leader — Obama started a fight and demanded that Congress act, now.

Most (but not all) of the feedback I’ve seen from the left — including many liberal critics of this administration — has been positive, and I’m not surprised. This was, to my mind, the speech Obama’s supporters hoped he’d give, but were afraid he wouldn’t.

Yes, I realize Congress still exists. And yes, I know Republicans don’t want to improve the economy. But watching the speech, I got the sense this president intends to put the full weight of his office behind one idea: not giving Congress much of a choice.

For two weeks, I’ve been urging the president to swing for the fences. Tonight, it looks to me like the ball easily cleared the center-left bleachers.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • hells littlest angel on September 08, 2011 7:07 PM:

    Looks like a pretty cordial gathering, so far. Can't blame Joe Walsh for skipping this -- he'd have really felt out of place.

    I don't ordinarily pay much attention to captcha, but "linkrai then." Let's get ready to "Rumble"?

  • hells littlest angel on September 08, 2011 7:10 PM:

    Either Boehner's dentures are slipping or he's in the bag. "...Uniderd Stashe."

  • maryQ on September 08, 2011 7:17 PM:

    We will hear much about "Obama the scold", but I'm in love with this speech so far.

  • hells littlest angel on September 08, 2011 7:25 PM:

    He's daring the Republicans to say no. Not a bad tactic. I just hope this Jobs Act is worth it.

  • Brenna on September 08, 2011 7:26 PM:

    I love the speech, but check out the republicans who HATE it! Their faces and body language are priceless.

  • Anonymous on September 08, 2011 7:26 PM:

    crap... missed the beginning as I thought it started at 8 eastern. Have been working and alternately watching US Open tennis. Oh well, I'm sure CSPAN will repeat.

  • Neke on September 08, 2011 7:27 PM:

    There's the president I voted for. This speech is brilliant.

  • Joe Friday on September 08, 2011 7:31 PM:

    THE GOOD: Paul Ryan looks sick !

    THE BAD: Obama regurgitating the fake RightWing talking point that our corporate taxes are the highest in the world.

  • hells littlest angel on September 08, 2011 7:36 PM:

    He is fired up. And the right-wingers are getting pissed. Heh heh heh.

  • RD Padouk on September 08, 2011 7:47 PM:

    Yes. He is The Man.

  • hells littlest angel on September 08, 2011 7:52 PM:

    The Republican debate inspired a whole lot more comments than this speech did.

    You know what? That's fucked up.

  • bdop4 on September 08, 2011 7:53 PM:

    $300B jobs bill, $180B of which maintains status quo. He's going to increase deficit reduction, fund job creation AND reduce the effective corporate tax rate. That's going to require huge numbers of tax loopholes enjoyed by the corporations who now pay little or no taxes.

    I look forward to seeing the pork slaughterhouse built next to congress, because that's what it going to have to happen. He's going to have to piss off a LOT of political donors to pull this off.

  • jjm on September 08, 2011 7:54 PM:

    McConnell looked even sicker than Ryan.

    Obama used the speech very effectively and in the public's eyes made it very clear that if there is NO action on jobs, the GOP is to blame.

    and his excellent threat to take this speech to every corner of America might just lever some GOP members out of their easy chairs.

  • bdop4 on September 08, 2011 7:55 PM:

    correction: That's going to require ELIMINATING huges numbers of tax loopholes.

  • June on September 08, 2011 7:56 PM:

    Impressions:

    I love the small business ideas; the framing for the ideas around reforming the tax code; the callout of GOP hypocrisy around refusing to pass ideas they have always lobbied for

    Liked the "fire" in the Prez' voice

    Liked the reminders about what this country has always been about

    Still think the Prez should drop the "Americans don't care about politics" line

    Wondering:
    Did Republicans all pull another childish prank by instructing every GOP'er attending tonight's session to wear black?

    Something appeared to be going on with the First Lady -- she looked very uncharacteristically sad/angry...?

    All in all, I'm not exactly on fire after the speech, but only because it still sounds like the bulk of it will have to get through the insane traitors - oops, I mean Congressional Republicans.

  • Been There on September 08, 2011 8:01 PM:

    I have voted against many people before. I have voted for the lesser of two evils before. I have voted FOR very, very few candidates. One of those I voted FOR was Barak Obama. Finally, he has shown why I voted for him. The time has come for his 'Give 'em hell, Barry' tour.
    (I hate captchas)

  • moonbat on September 08, 2011 8:07 PM:

    He nailed them right to the wall. And when he follows through on taking this message to every quarter of the country these guys are going to have to get off their butts and do something or get slaughtered in the next election. One of many resonating lines: "Americans can't wait 14 months for action."

  • The Oracle on September 08, 2011 8:07 PM:

    Where pie-in-the-sky efforts at "bipartisanship" with Republicans is concerned, President Obama would have better luck going up and trying to pet a rabid pitbull.

    Over at The Political Carnival, someone posted some phone exchanges they had with political operatives answering the phones at Rep. Joe "deadbeat dad" Walsh's and Sen. DeMint's offices...and their right-wing talking point was "IT'S ALL OBAMA'S FAULT." (Bush? Who!?!?)

    IOW, no matter what the facts are, no matter what President Obama does or says, Republicans are going to keep repeating over and over again through next year's presidential election that "IT'S ALL OBAMA'S FAULT," even as Republicans on Capitol Hill do their damnedest to make certain that the economy gets worse, so that their talking point will be more effective.

    This is a repeat of what former President George W. Bush and Republicans did during Hurricane Katrina. The day that New Orleans flooded and while Gov. Blanco (D-LA) was coordinating disaster relief efforts with the FEMA disaster coordinator at the FEMA command center in Baton Rouge LA, Republican talking heads accused Gov. Blanco on radio and television with not having formally requested federal disaster assistance before Katrina hit land.

    Gov. Blanco later told a reporter that the phones rang off the walls at the FEMA command center with reporters calling, making it difficult for federal and state disaster response officials to respond to the news that New Orleans was flooded and people were stranded by flood waters. And, of course, the Republican talking point, the smear against her, was all a lie, but it worked, Kathleen Blanco is no longer Louisiana's governor. A Republican, Bobby Jindal, replaced her.

    But for the Republican lie against Gov. Blanco to work, matters had to get much, much worse on the ground in New Orleans and Louisiana, just as for the Republican lies directed at President Obama to be more effective, matters have to get much, much worse in our economy for American working families.

    And the Republican tactics are the same. During Katrina, the Bush administration deliberately withheld (or redirected elsewhere) federal disaster relief personnel, supplies and equipment from New Orleans and Louisiana, in essence, obstructing the efforts of Gov. Blanco and the Baton Rouge FEMA disaster coordinator to rush federal and state aid into the Katrina-ravaged areas in Louisiana...all while Republicans were accusing Gov. Blanco of being incompetent, that what people were seeing on television (citizens stranded on New Orleans' rooftops) was "ALL HER FAULT."

    We are seeing the same Republican strategy being played against President Obama today; deliberate Republican obstructionism while they try to lay the blame solely on him, for what has happened and is happening in our economy. George W. Bush and his administration? According to Republican propaganda, Bush had nothing at all to do with the present state of our economy.

    So, President Obama should have started his speech tonight with a little history lesson, dissecting the previous Republican administration and it's role in almost crashing the economy in 2008, it's role in driving up federal budget deficits by record amounts, it's handing off a worsening unemployment and jobs situation to him when he entered the White House in January 2009, then President Obama might as well be blowing smoke...up a rabid pitbull's ass.

  • yellowdog on September 08, 2011 8:09 PM:

    McConnell has always looked like that.

    More of a gut-punch to Congress than the typical Presidential speech. No lyricism. No homilies. No humor. No stand-up moments for heroes sitting with the First Lady. This was all business.

    As such, it was an efficient slap across the GOP backside for failing to meet the challenges of the hour.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 08, 2011 8:09 PM:

    I'm happy with it, I'm relieved to say. Looks like the President has decided it's time to go with those that got him there. And if Republicans keep up the crap, I'm feeling pretty confident, there's more than a few good points to make in the campaign.

  • foghorn on September 08, 2011 8:12 PM:

    Lots of good framing. Boxing in the r's. e.g. for people who had pledged to never raise taxes they would surely not let taxes rise on the middle class. They looked kinda sick when he said this.
    It was good overall. But there's too much give to the dark side.

    Agree about the way Michelle looked. Something was going on there.

  • Josef K on September 08, 2011 8:15 PM:

    I hope everyone's prepared to start writing letters and calling their Congress critters' offices, plus the White House.

    If anything worthwhile is going to emerge, the Republicans cannot be allowed to take the process over. And more importantly the Administration cannot start negotiating the useful bits away, just to keep the Republicans at the table.

    Guess the coming weeks will be...interesting.

  • daniel quinn on September 08, 2011 8:22 PM:

    It was agood speech,as far as it went.It reminded me of a Redskin's game.He got into the red zone,but he failed to score.The repubs will be pissing on his leg in the morning.If not sooner.

  • elnuestros on September 08, 2011 8:24 PM:

    Yes, he makes pretty stirring speeches. Made some that got him elected. But count me among those who no longer vote for speeches.

    Let�s see him put up, before Rick Perry summons the Grand Dragon of the Lizard Brains and vanquishes him on the field.

  • Varecia on September 08, 2011 8:25 PM:

    My local news has been hacking for the GOP in the lead-up to this speech; citing national polls out of context or failing to give enough detail to explain the true nature of the results, interviewing poorly informed citizens disgruntled with Obama's alleged 'failure' to create jobs, cutting to GOP debate bites, etc. I called them out for failing to cover GOP obstructionism and other critical context, but it probably won't do much good. I think they were laying anti-Obama groundwork to persuade viewers not to watch this speech.

  • Brian Kraft on September 08, 2011 8:26 PM:

    [Your IP makes me think you're trolling, so I have exercised my discretion and removed your comment. In case you get paid to post such ludicrous nonsense, you won't be making any money from this site tonight. Or if that's really how you feel, you can always go preach to the rest of the choir at FDL. Your choice. --Mods]

  • Schtick on September 08, 2011 8:28 PM:

    Can't wait to see how he's going to hit SS and Medicare.


    crapcha....team-based uditor....what a mental picture.

  • LRM on September 08, 2011 8:34 PM:

    Loved it. Boehner's face was priceless as it went from bored and smug, then long as a wet week, then looking like he had a cat turd on his upper lip.

  • T2 on September 08, 2011 8:43 PM:

    Caught the last part , campaign mode Obama. Interesting that the after speech Media comments were sidetracked by the " unconfirmed Al Qaeda attack" info. Real convenient, huh? Ten years later and some guys in Pakistan are still yanking our chain......thanks to the Media.

  • doubtful on September 08, 2011 8:46 PM:

    I think it would be naive to assume Congress will do anything productive now that it's election season, so this was a campaign speech and as those go, it was pretty good. Too many tax cuts disguised as stimulus for my liking, but a good speech overall.

    Of course, it's meaningless as long as the economy is in the tank. I think Perry's 'Ponzi Scheme' nonsense last night did the President far more electoral good than this speech.

    In hindsight, caving to Republican's scheduling demands might have been a good move after all.

  • Doug on September 08, 2011 8:47 PM:

    Brian Kraft @ 8:26 PM, I WAS going to present a few points for your consideration, but your use of the adjective "spineless" decided me against that.
    If you consider President Obama to be spineless, then: a) you have NO idea of how politics works on Capitol Hill, b) you haven't read or seen ANYTHING other than the pap presented by MSM, or c) you're trolling.
    You can take action to correct your lack of knowledge, points "a" and "b", but I'm not sure anything can be done if c applies.
    If it's "c", wait until November 2012, then you'll have something to be really "disillusioned" about...

  • POed Lib on September 08, 2011 8:48 PM:

    I listened on the radio. I thought the speech very good indeed. Strong, impassioned, URGENT!! I think that it has good stuff, not cerebral in the least.

    I also liked VERY MUCH his strong defense of mutual strength and working together.

    A strong and positive speech. The Repukeliscum will need to answer, and will need to work with him.

  • pol on September 08, 2011 8:59 PM:

    I was surprised that, on NBC after the speech, Brian Williams and George Stephanopoulos talked about the terror threat, but nothing about the speech. I know the threat is important, but geez.

  • ameshall on September 08, 2011 9:04 PM:

    Obama did all he could do given the circumstances. He needed to show that he was committed to creating jobs, he had a reasonable plan to do so, and the GOP would be political hacks and jackasses if they opposed the common-sense measures they had previously supported. I also liked the tone. Obama needs to continue to put pressure on the GOP and call them out for deliberately tanking the economy, even if the GOP ultimately puts the brakes on his jobs plan. What else can he do? He's stuck with a House that has its own DSM-IV diagnosis.

  • N.Wells on September 08, 2011 9:07 PM:

    I'm seconding POed Liberal. I heard it on the radio. I loved the appeal to our history, working together, and "where would we be without....". He's down to weak options, but I'm guessing that what he's suggesting could still make a reasonable difference. I thought he did a darn near perfect pitch at the level of being angry, but without quite rising to the level of starting a round of "fearing the angry black man" (but we'll see: the republicans could generate a round of poutrage over him saying 'sit!' to his dog). I thought his empathy with the difficulties of the average citizen were well stated, and would play well against the Cantor - Paul 'let them cook and eat their own cake' philosophy, if the media ever gave a fair representation of both.

    I listened on NPR: Mara Liasson's bias got me yelling at my radio.

  • ex-curm on September 08, 2011 9:22 PM:

    I wish Obama had not thrown in this:

    "modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid"

  • rrk1 on September 08, 2011 9:37 PM:

    Unfortunately I had to attend a meeting of public officials and couldn't watch or listen to the speech. I'll listen to a replay.

    However, the news that Obama is calling for medicare and SS funding cuts is very troubling. He wants to do his jobs deal on the backs of seniors. That's immoral, and unnecessary.

    I will applaud if, in fact, he is willing to fight this time. That remains to be seen. I will boo loudly if he follows through with medicare and SS cuts without raising taxes on the rich. Manchurian Candidate indeed.

    At least he wiped the Rethug 'debate' out of the headlines.

  • Peninsula Matt on September 08, 2011 9:38 PM:

    It was a great speech. If he can keep this up for the next 14 months, he'll win reelection and perhaps the House and Senate too. Awesome! I'm going to vote for him again and until a few hours ago, I wasn't sure. (I wouldn't vote for a Republican but I would vote 3rd party or something like that.)

    And, most importantly, Obama did it his way. A list of proposals that have had a history of bipartisan support. If Congress passes it, Obama wins reelection because the economy improves some. If Congress fails to pass it - and if the GOP is clearly to blame - Obama wins too because then he runs against the do nothing Congress. Terrific!

    The downside for me is that I don't think what his proposing is enough to fix what ails the economy. But, if Obama can extend the majority in the Senate and regain the House, then perhaps he can do more in a second term. Good enough for now.

  • exlibra on September 08, 2011 9:51 PM:

    I just this minute finished watching it. The (early on) "pass this bill now, and...", repeated many times, reminded me of Benen's "pass the damned bill" and I certainly liked it very much as a stylistic device. Was sorry he didn't end with it (though agreed with the dropping of it in the middle).

    I also liked his (paraphrasing): it's up to you to pass this bill, but that doesn't mean I and my administration will sit on our hands while you're debating; there are things we can, and will, do, immediately. In essence, it was an offer of a middle finger, should they forget who they're working for.

    It was an education to observe Boehner. Poor SOB felt constrained to at least clap politely when everyone else did, so as not to look *too* churlish, but you could see how unhappy he was about it. And it was interesting to see when he decided "by golly, I so disagree, I won't clap at all" for the first time -- it was when Obama mentioned that big corporations ought to pay their fair share...

    I agree with the people up thread about Michelle Obama; she looked on the verge of tears, not her usual regally sunny self. One of the kids sick? Her Mom? Hope not.

  • bleh on September 08, 2011 9:52 PM:

    As I've said elsewhere, I just hope the WH is ready for the blowback. The Republicans are bullies, and as any bully knows, if someone stands up to you, you gotta beat him down or you're finished.

    Obama seems to have recognized that it's a battle, not a parley. I hope he sticks to it!

  • SYSPROG on September 08, 2011 9:52 PM:

    Best line of the speech...“the next election is 14 months away and the people who sent us here—the people who hired us to work for them—they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months.”

    He put 535 elitist jerks on notice that WE sent you there and we aren't waiting any longer for you to do YOUR JOB.

  • JD on September 08, 2011 10:01 PM:

    An excellent speech that really should get our side engaged. As for the Medicare line, the fact is that everyone in the world knows that "modest adjustments" do need to be made in order for the system to be strengthened. What that line says to me is that his focus will be on long term deficit reduction with short and medium term stimulus which simply seems to me to be common sense.

  • Werewolf on September 08, 2011 10:07 PM:

    "You should pass this bill now!" Loved it! My favorite line was early on, when he talked about small businesses and called them "job creators". And I loved how the camera went to McCain when POTUS mentioned veterans, and Rand Paul when he mentioned a bridge between Ohio and Kentucky. And as for taking the message to "every corner of this land".....

  • Bob M on September 08, 2011 10:30 PM:

    "At least he wiped the Rethug 'debate' out of the headlines."

    A whole book could be written about how he has seized the "narrative".

  • pol on September 08, 2011 10:32 PM:

    I liked that the President said his team had already found over 500 regulations that could be eliminated... Republicans are always saying they want to do away with regulations, so he wants them to start with these. Of course, these aren't the ones the Repugs want to eliminate, I'm sure...

  • pol on September 08, 2011 10:37 PM:

    Bob M, after watching the speech on NBC, and seeing that Brian Williams and George Stephanopoulos decided to talk about the terror scare, rather than the speech, it certainly seemed like they were trying to change the subject. They did not cite one single topic from the President's speech. I guess they were nervous about getting on with the pre-game activities...

  • Joe Friday on September 08, 2011 10:38 PM:

    ex-curm,

    "I wish Obama had not thrown in this: 'modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid'"

    No kidding.

    Here we have the Congressional Republicans down on record voting to scrap Medicare and replace it with vouchers, and the leading Republican candidate is freely admitting he wants to eliminate Social Security.

    Ya gotta be CRAZY to even be hinting at messing around with either program.

  • exlibra on September 08, 2011 11:01 PM:

    ex-curm (9:22) and Joe Friday (10:38)

    I don't like it either. I'll be 62 next month, and am already counting the months I have to survive before I reach the safe heaven of Medicare (I *so* hoped for Medicare Part E -- for Everyone -- effective immediately, two years ago).

    OTOH, the devil is in the details, as usual. And, this time, he said he'll have it all *on paper*. So we'll have real "meat", not just rumours, to dissect before we start clucking. And he promised we (and the Congress) will have it *soon* (I liked the urgency of the whole speech, BTW). So I'll hold my horses till then.

    Now, about Craptcha... I'm willing to bitch any time and at length :) This time it's "stsszi Settlers" (with "Settlers in Gothic script). My native tongue is Polish and we're supposed to be vowel deficient but, really...

  • Anonymous on September 08, 2011 11:07 PM:

    Speech is being replayed on CSPAN right now (11 pm eastern, 8 Pacific).

  • exlibra on September 08, 2011 11:12 PM:

    Hot off the presses, the New York Times editorial:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/opinion/president-obamas-jobs-speech.html?_r=1&hp
    So hot off the presses, that we get things like:
    [...]those Americans who did heard him [...] and inconsistencies about not providing enough details on the one hand and on the speech being too long on the other hand. But, in general, a cautiously optimistic (just like I am, myself) and positive review.

  • Hmmmmm on September 08, 2011 11:15 PM:

    Just watched some reaction from congress... R Sen. Boozman of AR admitted that the stimulus bill created jobs and that funding infrastructure projects creates jobs. His concern was: "We saw with the last stimulus... that when the spending goes away then the jobs go away." Interesting...

  • Daniel Kim on September 08, 2011 11:23 PM:

    Obama went back to the call for public action, which is good. I think it's important that individuals exercise their remaining influence with congress by choking the switchboards. Certainly people have a hard time getting money together collectively to create influence, but the public can show that they care enough about this issue to plug for a jobs bill.

  • Hannah on September 08, 2011 11:42 PM:

    I'm glad Obama swatted down the idea of getting rid of all regulations and spoke up for regulations that protect the health & welfare of the American people. My dad is currently hospitalized after being poisoned with listeria bacteria (food borne). It's sickened many in the Denver area, killing two. My dad is elderly and already had enough health issues to deal with before this hit. No, Ron Paul, the market will not regulate itself.

    Anyway, I thought the speech was good, really good. It was a rebuke to those who say we as a country can't afford to do anything. And a call to Americans that we are a great nation. You'll even get Repubs to agree to that.

    Oh, and we all need to call our Reps tomorrow.

  • mmm on September 09, 2011 12:21 AM:

    I don't care what President Obama's poll numbers are, he's still the smartest person in the room. I liked the speech.. passionate and challenging, and plenty to offer.

    As a reminder of the Repubs meddling, if you haven't seen the Enron story on CNBC, take a look. As the lady said, "It COULD happen again".

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on September 09, 2011 12:37 AM:

    pol on September 08, 2011 8:59 PM: I was surprised that, on NBC after the speech, Brian Williams and George Stephanopoulos talked about the terror threat . . .

    Why were you surprised? Those are two of the bought-and-paid-for weasels who are selling America down the river.

  • Doctor Biobrain on September 09, 2011 2:34 AM:

    For anyone interested, here's a fact check I did of a fact check AP did of Obama's speech. Good stuff. Enjoy.

    Associated Press: Fact Checkers, or Nitpicking Nitwits?

  • steve on September 09, 2011 3:47 AM:

    If the Republicans are correct that government can't improve the economy then their best strategy is to appear to fight hard against the President (so their base will still elect them in the primaries) and then give in with those in the safer districts being the turncoats.

    Then when the jobs fail to stick after the money is spent, Obama can't easily blame unemployment on them in the election. Krugman claiming that the stimulus just wasn't big enough won't save Obama.

    In fact, I predict this is exactly what will happen. The Democrat's are correct. Republican politicians as a rule don't care about the economy as much as they care about getting re-elected. What Democrat's don't seem to understand is that they honestly do believe that more government intervention won't save the economy.

  • NealB on September 09, 2011 5:54 AM:

    Crap speech. Badly crafted. Obama's never done a good address to Congress. If I were one of them, weak as Obama is, I'd feel as if I'd been dissed.

    If you're the President, and you're going to address a joint session of Congress, you've got two choices. Speak to the present audience (i.e. members of Congress) in terms of policy, or speak way, way over them so they know they're being dissed entirely, in the most idealistic terms possible. Make them irrelevant. But to do that, he'd have to have some ideals. He's made it clear he has none to which he's committed.

    As usual, Obama tries to be not too soft, not too hard, and pretty much fails completely.

    This is worse than Clinton, worse than Carter. It was his chance to speak in idealistic terms and he failed. The proposals he made will likewise devolve into the same kind of stultifying debates over the coming months.

    Terrible, terrible kick-off to whatever follows. Lucky for him, no one expects much any more.

    Obama's just not very good at the job of U.S. President. It's a crappy job. Clearly, if there are any Americans that were good at it, none of them want it, or they'd be President now. So, kudos for Mr. Obama for caring enough to show up, and all. But it doesn't change the fact. He may be the best available person for the job, but he's not very good at it.

  • Reality sets in on September 09, 2011 6:29 AM:

    Putting the ball in the stands at batting practice after the game is over does not make a good hitter. Admit it, ot's way too late for this. I was at O'hare last night and people would literally glance at the tv, shake their head, and keep walking. At least he didn't interfere with kick-off. What a game!

  • jill on September 09, 2011 7:04 AM:

    The speech had no substance. It was more of the same. Talk all excitedly about the same ideas that did not work then blame the R.when he can't pass his ideas. The speech apparently worked for mst of the folks commenting here. He really gave no solid ideas,just the same stuff. But for some folks it is not about what he says but how he says it.
    The fact is the democrats had the house and senate most of Obama's term. There was no way they could obstruct his plans. However in two years he never put together the budget for this country. No budget for 2 years people. Then I come on this site and read oh, Obama's right it is those nasty republicans holding him back. False. Then the republicans come in to take 1/2 of the house seats,voted in by the American people,for the sole purpose of getting our country out of this trillions of dollars in debt (D&R)debt,and now they are to blame.
    How quickly you forget that Obama had no plan to fix the problem. If you can come up with the plan Obama put out to reduce the debt you get dinner or your grass cut. There was no plan on Obama's part. So how could 1/4 of congress obstruct a plan that never existed?
    So, to all you Obama supporters, learn the facts, think about the facts. If you still are in love with loud pointless speeches you will more than likely love the new hope and change.
    Yea! Yea! Hope and change!
    Any person who thought Obama's speech was terrific,you were the folks he was aiming for, his friends.His wife was not at all happy but, friends know better. His friends just know him. They know he is wonderful.

  • June on September 09, 2011 7:16 AM:

    Reading through the text of the American Jobs Act, I have to say I'm even more encouraged by its superb ideas. Just the one idea alone of cutting payroll taxes in half is one I can imagine would pour substantial money into the economy, as people would have much more take-home pay (I know I would).

    If the current crop of Republicans had an ounce of common purpose or humanity, the American Jobs Act would be a no-brainer to pass through Congress. But of course, the GOP's only common purpose is to see who can tell the Biggest Lie and get away with it, who can show the most blatant disrespect to the office of the President and get away with it, who can create the most inhumane policy and get away with it, and who can get the most pats on the head from the Koch Bros. and the Big Fat Idiot, Limbaugh (Beck seems to have been exiled from the circle).

    I was most glad to see the Prez not even try to suggest Republicans are invested in the best interests of the country; if anything good came out of the GOP almost destroying the US economy (again) through the debt ceiling "crisis," it's that Obama no longer seems willing to generously provide the GOP their only patina of respectability by pretending they are interested in, or capable of, responsible governing.

    I look forward to how this opening volley will play out. Before the Prez' speech, didn't Boehner scramble to prevent Obama from pointing out that Republicans don't want to do bupkus on creating jobs, with a claim that the GOP is ready to "work with Obama" on certain items? (Yes, I know that's absolute bull coming from Boehner, but it certainly serves as a nice billy club with which Obama can politically beat the GOP over the head -- now instead of the GOP's lying phrase "Where are jobs?," it can be turned around to, "Mr. Speaker, where is the vote on the jobs bill?").

    As someone else said, things are going to get very interesting from here. But I also realize I really need to stay engaged and not just sit back and say, "Obama needs to do this; Obama needs to do that" -- the saying, "we are the ones we've been waiting for," seems to apply now more than ever.

  • June on September 09, 2011 7:24 AM:

    To @jill -- quote: "However in two years he (Obama) never put together the budget for this country. No budget for 2 years people."

    What?!! What idiot have you been listening to? Do yourself a favor, go Google:

    The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2010
    The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2011
    The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

    And then I hope you'll ask yourself if the rest of the nonsense you're being fed has any credibility. (It doesn't.)

  • CeeBee on September 09, 2011 10:05 AM:

    It was almost like he was telling a three-year-old why we don't poop on the floor at Grandma's house. And the Republicans were the awful preschoolers.

    Great speech, and about time. I hope it's not too little, too late. I emailed my Senator and Representative (a blue dog democrat and a tea party freshman, respectively) to tell them to support it.

    Not sure what else to do: I signed up to volunteer for the Obama campaign in 2012 but I've got a lot of small children, childcare is way out of my budget and I'm pretty strapped for cash to donate.

  • jill on September 09, 2011 10:41 AM:

    Explain it all to your Great Grandchildren one day June. Don't worry about some conservative you know will never get it.

  • Varecia on September 09, 2011 11:06 AM:

    jill, get a grip.
    And then go out, muster up all your little Tea Bagger, 'patriotic' courage, and find out what the right wing has been deliberately keeping from you.

  • WallyG on September 09, 2011 11:29 AM:

    Umm, the President is a lefty, so so his home run would probably go to the middle right field. Beyond that, I agree.

  • DavidT on September 09, 2011 12:21 PM:

    What world do you live in? "...I know Republicans don�t want to improve the economy..." That is just false and inflammatory.

    My question, as a Republican, is where is the $450 billion coming from? Thin air? Oh, wait, we'll just print more.

    His 'plan' is one sided--consisting of either spending money (with no income to balance it) or reductions of tax income the government currently takes in (and no additional income to balance those reductions).

    This is a new 'stimulus package'. Suggesting spending all this money equates to printing $450 billion. The deficit reduction super committee has not even come up with the cuts to the budget yet to pay for the increase in the debt limit. To ask them to come up with an *additional* $450 billion in budget cuts seems ridiculous to me.

  • Skip on September 09, 2011 5:55 PM:

    Show people the actual Bill and pray someone reads it before doing anything with it.
    Show people the CBO analysis of how much it really costs and where the money is coming from before acting.

  • kk on September 10, 2011 2:34 AM:

    I would say Obama hit this one out of the park. Boehner looked like he was enduring a 30-minute colonoscopy. And both the Prez and Veep had the obligatory flag lapel pins, while Boehner had none--but he was wearing a pink tie. What's up with that? Did David Brooks give it to him?

  • jlue on September 14, 2011 3:41 PM:

    Actually, The American Jobs Act is a rerun of what he offered last time. It is up on whitehouse.gov now and can be read. It does state in Subsection(a)that all construction must use iron or steel manufactured in the USA. Then it gives six reasons or waivers when Subsection(a)doesn't actually apply. The bottom line will be that construction companies will not have to use steel or iron mined or made in USA. (We know what that is called.)

    The jobs he is talking about are government jobs or are short term jobs designed to get him through 2012.It appeared to me on a first look that everything he is proposing is only designed to last through 2012 except the socialist programs in education. America needs long term solutions, not more government control which is what goes with each of his proposals.

    He also proposes that schools develop early childhood learning programs that begin at BIRTH in order to qualify for educational grants.

    Always read the bill. Obama could sell the Brooklyn Bridge once, but hopefully not twice to the same people.

  • truthisjoy on September 17, 2011 12:39 AM:

    An isolated, insolent wicked ruler blames others. Jesus is light, Obama is opaque ...his followers stumble in the darkness. When government claims to have the answer for everything, they leave God out of everything. Those who depend on godless leadership for their future, are as a blind man following a blind man into a ditch.

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