September 9, 2011
Facing a barrage of criticism over his handling of the economy, President Obama last night unveiled a massive $450bn plan to combat the country’s unemployment crisis – and try to save his own job.
In a rare address to a joint session of US Congress at what is being seen as the lowest point in his presidency, Mr Obama tried to inject fresh confidence that he can still turn the dire jobs outlook around.
Unusually impassioned, the president demanded a truce in the political bickering that could still sabotage his much-vaunted American Jobs Act.
With a slew of polls this week showing his approval rankings have slumped to new lows and the jobless figures anchored at 9.1%, the make-or-break speech was supposed to breathe new life into his faltering re-election hopes.
But within minutes of the end of the televised 30-minute address, Republicans were already on the attack, lambasting the president for splashing out yet more taxpayer billions in a bid to spend his way out of the downturn.
Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann claimed Mr Obama’s approach amounts to more ‘failed gimmicks.’
The Tea Party darling said that the jobs plan will fail even if it is passed by Congress.
She claimed the president was ‘politically paralyzed’ and ‘philosophically incapable of doing what needs to be done.’
Mr Obama’s proposed package includes a payroll tax cut for all workers, a payroll tax cuts for most business, and billions in extra spending on construction projects.
He peppered the speech with the demand that Congress should pass the plan ‘right away’, a phrase he used 15 times.
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