President Barack Obama spoke of financial troubles both at home and abroad in a press conference Friday, calling on Congress to reconsider his jobs legislation to boost the public sector amid headwinds from Europe.
In a Q&A session with reporters at the White House briefing room, Obama said the private sector was doing well but Congress needed to take steps to strengthen labor, education, construction and government-funded jobs in order to stay on solid ground amid the eurozone financial crisis.
The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we've created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine, Obama said. We're seeing that the weaknesses in our economy have to do with the state and local government not getting enough federal money.
Obama said that if Congress passed his $447 billion Jobs Act when it was first proposed last year, the country would be on track to have a million more Americans back to work.
There's work to be done, and there are workers to do it. Let's put them back to work right now, Obama said.
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He assailed lawmakers for putting partisan politics ahead of national interests. If Congress decides not to do anything about this because it is an election year, they should explain to the American people why, he said.
Republicans disagree with how President Obama's Jobs Act will be funded, claiming it would raise taxes on the wealthy and hurt the economy rather than help it. Since a dismal jobs report was released last week, Romney and the GOP have tried to pin the country's economic troubles on Obama.
In a Web ad published Friday morning, the Republican National Committee released an ad that mocked President Obama for constantly using the word headwinds to explain how Europe and other outside factors have hurt the economy. Yesterday in Las Vegas, Obama said the economy had been facing some serious headwinds.
After four years of blaming 'headwinds,' maybe it's time for Obama to look in the mirror, the ad says.
The president evoked the word once again in his Friday speech, encouraging Greece to stay committed to reforms but warned Congress of potential damage from Europe's floundering economy.
Congress refused to pass the jobs plan in full, he said. They left most of the plan just sitting there. In light of the headwinds facing us now, I urge them to reconsider.
The Republican Party lashed out at Obama on social media for not taking responsibility for the 8.2 percent unemployment rate and claiming that the private sector was doing well.
Obama just said the private sector is doing fine. That explains why unemployment is at 8.2% and only 69K jobs were created last month, tweeted RNC Research. 23.2 million Americans are underemployed, unemployed or given up looking for work.
UPDATE: President Obama backtracked on his private sector comments later on Friday, saying he wants to be absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine, according to the Associated Press.