Obama hardens tone in push for his jobs bill

Sep 14, 2011, 12:22 p.m.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at North Carolina State University about the American Jobs Act that he unveiled in an address to a joint session of Congress last week, while in Raleigh Durham September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

But White House spokesman Jay Carney brushed aside the notion that this could mean trouble for Obama and Democrats in the November 2012 election.

"Special elections are often unique and their outcomes do not tell you very much about future regularly scheduled elections," Carney told reporters.

Taking aim at Republican resistance to parts of his job plan, Obama told his North Carolina audience that: "It's not about positioning for the election. It's about giving the American people a win."

"I get fed up with that kind of game playing," he said. "We're in a national emergency ... and instead of getting folks to rise up above partisanship in a spirit that says we're all in this together, you've got folks who are purposely dividing."

Obama's plan to bring down the jobless rate with a package of tax cuts to give incentives for hiring and spending paid for by tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations came under renewed fire from Republicans in Congress who say tax increases would hurt a weak economic recovery.

They also oppose more government spending but may be open to extending payroll tax cuts, one of the main elements of Obama's jobs plan.

Republicans have been careful not to completely declare the plan dead on arrival, and no prominent Republicans has raised the idea of putting off action until after the election.

(Additional reporting by Alister Bull and Patricia Zengerle; Writing by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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