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Video: What’s new in Obama’s jobs plan?

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    >> of course will address the joints session of congress tonight and unveil his new jobs plan for the nation. bill daley is the president's cheefr of staff. good morning.

    >> good morning, matt.

    >> so let's talk about what is critical in this jobs proposal tonight, what will the president say that he hasn't said in the years past or that he couldn't have proposed in the last year or so as unemployment was hovering at around 9.1%.

    >> matt, the president tonight will announce his very innovative programs both for job creation and a way to grow the economy. the american job act which will be introduced next would he be which the president will speak to tonight, are a series of enknow straight testify ideas that have shown almost all of them to have bipartisan support. many of these programs, matt, are innovative, creative, new ideas, put together at a time where the american people believe something must be done by congress . these ideas some people may say, oh, these ideas some of them have been thought about, talked about, but they are as a package, as an act, a way if congress will act now, a way to help people. that's what the president is committed to do. if congress will act.

    >> you have just thrown out and the president has said in the last couple of days these are ideas with a history of bipartisan support. and yet mitch mcconnell said that while they will listen politely, they don't want to hear ideas from the past. they don't want more spending and more bore re irowborrowing.

    >> matt, no one is talking about borrowing. these will all be paid for and the president will state right up front that these are all going to be paid for. this is not about creating more debt. those of us like you and i who have done quite well over the economy the last couple years out to pay a little more. but the american people are tired of the rhetoric and inaction.to pay a little more. but the american people are tired of the rhetoric and inaction. it's time to get back for the american people and not continue this sort of political rhetoric that we hear too often. the american people are sick and tired of it. so the president tonight will continue to be firm about action now.

    >> ten days after the president was sworn in back in 2009 , i sat down with him at the white house . we talked about jobs and the economy. at that time unemployment was 8.1%. i want you to listen to what he he had to say and i'll get your creation reaction on the other side.

    >> at some point will you say, wait a minute, we've spent this money, we're not seeing results, we have to change course?

    >> i'm at the start of my administration. one nice thing about the situation i find myself in is that i have be held accountable. i have four years.

    >> you'll know quickly how people feel.

    >> that's right. a year from now i think people will see that we're starting to make some progress, but there will still be some pain out there. if i don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one term proposition.

    >> as i said, 8.1% unemployment when he said those words. it's 9.1% now. are those words going to prove prophetic?

    >> every person in government has a responsibility and they will be held accountable. the president said it, he knows it every day. no one at that time of that interview had any idea of the depth of the economic crisis we would stumble into. we had already lost 4 million jobs before he even became president of the united states . it has been much worse than anyone thought. that's not an excuse for anyone. that's not an excuse for congress . it's time for action. this american jobs act that the president will introduce can help the american people if congress acts. they have to do that for the american people . not for the politics that may be going on in america today.

    >> when you say chief of staff bill daley . mr. daley, thank you for your time.

    >>> if more on the president's speech and the gop debate, we have joe scarborough . hey, joe, good morning. so who could the president possibly say to turn around the direction of the country and his poll number sths.

    >> the president is in a very difficult spot. people have heard jobs speeches before. but most americans don't think the president or republicans are focused on it. the first two years, there was a huge debate about health care . this past year, we've been talking about the deficit. this president is going to have to say something that jolts america into action, that jolts congress into action, and he'll have to be seen as strong. this is a president whose own base believes is far too weak. and he was preempted by the republican debate last night and preempted by the packers tonight. because of that, this is going to be showing at 4:00 on the west coast .

    >> meantime no matter what he says, at least three republicans are not going to be in the audience including jim dement. and one of these is actually saying that he'll opt to hold a twitter town hall during the speech. is this disrespectful to the office of the president ?

    >> i don't know if it's dis ful. quonk it's smart. it's not like the president has gained much traction in the past. i think the republicans just like the president have an american people waiting to see them work together. you look at poll after poll, americans have lost confidence in the president and republicans in congress and americans want to see these two sides working together. now, that may not excite the base, but that's sxat exactly where middle america is.

    >> last night at the gop debate, did rick perry say what he needed to say to maintain his momentum as he's now currently the leading candidate s?

    >> i don't think so. i think his biggest problem is the social security issue. he keeps calling it a ponzi scheme . if you want to say social security is a ponzi scheme and this is what we need to do to fix it, that's fine. but he doesn't. he says it's a ponzi scheme , it's a lie. he wrote in his book last year that it does violence to american values . i don't care what primary you're running in, i don't care how powerful the tea party is, that will spell problems.

    >> and it's clear mitt romney is making hay of that already. but i guess the other question is what about the other candidates. so many of the focus was really on these two and on twitter, romney and perry were the trending topic. is this a two-man race at this point?

    >> it's a two-man race right now, but just a few weeks ago, michele bachmann was the hot candidate. earlier this spring, remember who was at the top of the list? trump. and then apprentice comes along. this past fall, it was sarah palin . there's always mitt romney and somebody else. the question is does rick perry survive a month or two. i don't know that he does. i think mitt romney 's people are very happy with where they are right now.

    >> meantime i want to mention that you've got a very personal project or working on involving 9/11.

    >> right. our show, like every show, we are trying to figure out how to honor 9/11. wroi a song and we decided to put to video and it's called reason to believe . we're working with willie geist an operation man to try to help soldiers coming home.

    >> a personal project . thank you so much for putting your heart into it as you did this interview. and of course you can watch president obama 's address to congress tonight at 7:00 p.m . eastern here on nbc.

Image: Barack Obama
Paul Sancya  /  AP
President Barack Obama speaks after the annual Labor Day parade in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Obama's speech at the annual event was serving as a dress rehearsal for the jobs address he's delivering to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night.
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 9/8/2011 7:55:21 AM ET 2011-09-08T11:55:21

President Barack Obama will lay out a jobs package worth more than $300 billion on Thursday, staking his re-election hopes on a call for urgent bipartisan action to revive the faltering economy.

With his poll numbers sliding to new lows amid voter frustration with 9.1 percent unemployment, Obama will make tax cuts for middle-class households and businesses the centerpiece of the plan and will press for new spending to repair roads, bridges and other deteriorating infrastructure.

He will use his televised speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, at 7 p.m. EDT, to urge passage of those measures by year-end. He is expected to speak for 45 minutes.

If congressional Republicans reject his remedies, his strategy will be to paint them as obstructionists and blame them for the stagnating economy.

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Stubbornly high unemployment has heightened fears that the economy could be headed for another recession. Net employment growth registered zero in August as a budget standoff in Washington and the European debt crisis spooked businesses and consumers.

Obama is under intense pressure to change perceptions that he has shown weak leadership. His economic stewardship has been criticized by both Republicans and fellow Democrats, casting a cloud over his prospects for re-election in November 2012.

"It's a major leadership moment for Obama," said Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "He's running out of months before voters settle in on whether his presidency has failed."

Story: Obama's last chance to repair the breach

Democratic officials familiar with the President's plan told NBC News that most of Obama's plan consisted of measures that had been supported by Republicans and Democrats in the past.

They said no one would be left in any doubt that the plan would help the middle class and boost growth quickly.

However the officials also told NBC that the unemployment rate was not going to fall suddenly.

Not make or break?
They rejected the idea that the speech would be make or break for the president, but said it was important, both for Obama and the United States.

The officials told NBC that they did not think the U.S. was going into a double dip recession, but that action was needed to help the economy, which they accepted was weaker than it should be.

Video: Patrick defends President Obama’s jobs plan (on this page)

The sources, referring to the debt ceiling debate that brought America to the brink of default, said politicians had to stop making unforced errors that increased the country's economic problems.

They complained that the Republican party seemed to oppose any idea put forward by Obama, simply because he came up with it, suggesting they would argue over his assessment of the weather.

Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, said the president won't start with ideas that have been "preapproved" by Republicans in Congress.

"Ultimately, the test for any of these ideas: Are they right? Can they help the economy? Can they help get people back to work?" Axelrod told The Associated Press.

Story: Perry and Romney lock horns at GOP debate

The president's plan to pay for his ideas is a political necessity in a time of fiscal austerity. Deficit-boosting stimulus spending is out.

Obama plans to cover the cost by asking a new congressional supercommittee debt panel to go beyond its target of finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by the end of November, so the extra savings can pay for short-term economic help. That debt panel meets for the first time Thursday.

In one upbeat sign for those looking for a Washington compromise, House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have told Obama they see potential areas of agreement on jobs — for example, infrastructure, which Obama has pushed repeatedly.

Cantor also signaled to reporters Wednesday that he might support a payroll tax cut.

Renewing payroll tax cuts for workers passed last December is one of the biggest elements of Obama's plan. He will also propose tax cuts to encourage businesses to hire.

Obama's popularity fading
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll this week showed Obama was no longer the favorite to win re-election.

It was one of a series of polls this week that held gloomy news for Obama, whose popularity has dwindled to nearly 40 percent.

Since Obama took office in January 2009, nearly 2 million Americans have lost jobs. Almost 14 million people are out of work.

Story: Big White House economic speeches that failed

Obama will continue to press the message that Washington must do all it can to help the economy heal in a series of other appearances this autumn.

The goal is to pass legislation by the end of this year, with the aim of making a dent in the unemployment rate by spring of 2012.

Political analysts say that to bolster his chances for re-election, Obama needs to be able to point to economic improvement by the middle of next year.

If Congress, which controls the nation's purse strings, does not act, the White House is prepared to try to portray the Republicans as getting in the way of his efforts to solve the jobless problem.

The bruising battle in July over the country's debt highlighted a wide philosophical chasm between Obama's Democrats and Republicans who control the House of Representatives.

Republicans have derided an $800 billion economic stimulus package that Obama pushed through Congress in 2009 as wasteful spending and have pushed for immediate cuts in the deficit.

'Go bold'
Democrats say that while long-term deficits must be addressed, the economy needs a short-term fiscal boost.

Media reports have put the size of Obama's jobs package at upward of $300 billion. CNN quoted sources saying it could top $400 billion. The White House would not confirm the reports.

Many Democrats felt Obama was too deferential to Republicans during the fight over debt and have urged him to "go bold" in his economic speech.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, asked about Obama's reported jobs package, said, "$300 billion is a lot of money, and if properly spent, can make a tremendous difference."

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said Obama should take responsibility for making the economy worse.

"Unemployment is worse, housing is worse, the debt is worse, and he's done all that by throwing a big wet blanket over the economy with his regulatory, tax and healthcare policies," he said.

Reuters, NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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