President Barack Obama is making a very bold move in the effort to end America's unemployment problem and get re-elected to a second term.
Obama declared Monday night in a town-hall-style meeting in Iowa that he will send a jobs package to Congress when legislators return in September, push lawmakers to pass it, and campaign against them if they don't cooperate.
It's a throwing down of the political gauntlet, sure to pay rewards if he can pull it off, but sure to be costly if he cannot.
"I'll be putting forward a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control the deficit," said Obama, on the first day of a three-day Midwest bus tour. "And my attitude will be, 'Get it done.'"
If members of Congress refuse to cooperate as some did during recent debt talk negotiations, Obama said, "the choice (in 2012) will be very stark and the choice will be very clear."
It's the first time he's actively embraced such re-election talk since formally organizing his presidential race campaign, and Obama addressed the primary issue he's already being attacked with by Republican presidential candidates -- America's jobless problem.
Over the weekend, Texas Governor Rick Perry went after Obama on America's high unemployment rate in officially announcing his bid for the presidency. On Monday, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney emphasized while talking with reporters that he's the best candidate to solve America's jobless problem.
Historically, U.S. presidents have a hard time getting re-elected when unemployment is above eight percent. Thus, Obama's political challenge is clear, since unemployment remains at 9.1 percent two years after the official end to the recession despite billions spent in federal stimulus.
The budget deficit is high, at $14.5 trillion, and many Americans are not finding work. The result are recent polls after the difficult debt talk negotiations show Obama's numbers slipping. Yet Obama is determined not to accept all the blame for the unemployment problem and America's slow-growth economy.
He's quick to criticize a Republican-led House "that doesn't seem willing to make the tough choices to move America forward." Obama effectively suggested that political talk on such subjects as cutting the budget is cheap. Action is required, he says.
"What is needed is action by Congress," Obama said. "It's time for the games to stop. It's time to put the country first."
Obama did not provide specific details of the plan, yet his commitment to bring forth a jobs package next month and push lawmakers to pass it or face having "stark" and "clear" lines drawn in the 2012 election is his most aggressive move yet on the issue.
"Government and politics are two different things," said Obama, speaking to a crowd in Cannon Falls, Minn., on Monday.
He cited examples of public school teachers, firefighters, police officers, soldiers and relief workers, while throwing a jab at Republicans he's accusing of holding Washington back.
"That's government," he said. "So don't be confused, as frustrated as you are about politics. Don't buy into this notion that somehow government is what is holding us back."