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On Labor Day Obama to Sell Jobs Creation

On Labor Day Obama to Sell Jobs Creation

By CBS News. CREATED Sep 5, 2011

(CBS News) President Obama could be under more pressure than ever to produce an effective new jobs proposal after Friday's bad unemployment report.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports the president will be in Detroit this Labor Day. Unemployment there is about 14% - that's five points above the national average. Michigan is a state he won by a huge margin in 2008. Today things are not looking as good, particularly on the jobs front.

At his speech to a labor audience in hard-hit Detroit today, President Obama is expected to hail the success of the 2009 auto industry bailout, and call on members of both parties to come together to solve the jobs crisis.

"There's a lot of talk in Washington these days about creating jobs," Mr. Obama said in his weekly address Saturday. "But it doesn't help when those same folks turn around and risk losing hundreds of thousands of jobs just because of political gamesmanship."

This latest address comes days after a report shows no new jobs were created in August - a statistic that rivals like Mitt Romney in Michigan (one of his home states) continue to hammer the president with.

"We have last month zero job creation," Romney said. "Look, a shutout is okay in baseball; it's not good when you're talking about jobs."

Congress returns from midsummer recess this week and President Obama is calling on lawmakers to extend the transportation bill.

She said among the ideas to discussed are incentives for "regular people" via a payroll tax reduction to increase disposable income; and extending support for long-term unemployed.

"I think he's made very clear that now is the time to focus: the Congress, the Senate, the White House, everyone coming together, and I believe that's what the public wants," Solis said.

When "Early Show" anchor Jeff Glor asked Solis about Texas Governor (and GOP candidate) Rick Perry calling one in six working-eligible Americans unemployed an "economic disaster," Solis retorted, "You have to think about what's going on in Texas, where there are a lot of people there that are still unemployed, and we were able to help many states like Texas and others through the Recovery Act to help create jobs and provide stability.

"Just think if states like Texas did not receive some of that money - their unemployment would have been much higher," she said.

Texas' unemployment in July was at its highest level since 1987, at 8.4 percent. And despite Perry campaigning against taxpayer-supported stimulus funds (calling them "failed" and "misguided"), the Texas Tribune reports Perry accepted $17.4 billion in federal stimulus money, including $8 billion to fund state expenses and balance its last two budgets. [Perry did refuse federal stimulus funds for education and the state's unemployment insurance program, claiming there were strings attached.]

White House officials have raised expectations for the speech, and know that there's probably nothing Mr. Obama could say that could satisfy many Republicans. If bipartisanship is unachievable, Plante said, the question is whether the president's ideas will be big enough to satisfy members of his own party and the independents in the middle.

When asked if the country is heading in the wrong direction on the jobs front, Secretary Solis said, "It is not. You have to remember that by the time the president took office we had already lost about 8 millions jobs. The first month alone we lost 750,000 jobs. Now I can tell you in the last 17 months he's helped to create 2.4 million private sector jobs.

"We're going to continue on that trajectory, but we need bipartisan support from the Congress, the Senate and from the public."

Solis said that as the president sells his ideas to the public, the American people will be able to define for themselves "who is helping to create jobs, incentivizing that, and who are the roadblocks."

Unpopular and divided, Congress is back

The White House claims failure to pass the legislation will mean thousands of construction jobs will be lost.

"That makes no sense, and it is completely avoidable. There's no reason to put more jobs at risk," Mr. Obama said.

In his big speech Thursday before Congress the president is expected to propose a broad range of initiatives, including tax credits - perhaps as high as $5,000 per employee - for companies that hire new workers; job training for the chronically unemployed; extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance benefits; and trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

But Republicans in Congress and Republican presidential candidates suggest that, whatever the president proposes, they're not likely to go along.

"The principles that I adopt are permanent fixes rather than temporary gimmicks like we've seen from the president and also private sector solutions versus government solutions," Rep. Michele Bachmann said on "Face the Nation."

The White House says that the job growth incentives that the president will propose on Thursday are more than "temporary gimmicks."

Appearing on CBS' "The Early Show" Monday, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the president's jobs speech will help give confidence to the American public.

"They want to hear clearly about bold plans and actions, and you'll hear about that on Thursday," Solis said.