Obama Talks Tough to GOP on Jobs

President Obama's Labor Day Speech in Detroit (Getty Images)
President Obama's Labor Day Speech in Detroit (Getty Images)

The president chose Labor Day to promise to challenge Republicans on jobs. Addressing a large crowd of union members in Detroit, Obama promised to put a jobs program before Republicans this Thursday. "We're going to give them a plan and say, 'Do you want to create jobs? … Show us what you've got."


Last Friday's bleak report on unemployment — no new jobs at all created in August — has added pressure on a White House facing 9.1 percent unemployment (16.7 percent among African Americans, a 27-year high). To roaring approval from the crowd, Obama promised a fight on their behalf, according to the Washington Post.

The situation is even worse in Michigan, where unemployment stands at 10.9 percent. Some in the crowd of about 13,000 carried signs reading "America Wants to Work!"

But Obama used Detroit and the revitalized auto industry to try to remind people of White House successes there and to energize his base. He touted his administration's decision to bail out two of the top three auto manufacturers — GM and Chrysler — shortly after he took office in 2009. And he held up Detroit as an example of how a city can survive tough economic times.

"Like the commercial says, this is a city that has been to heck and back," Obama said. "And while there are a lot of challenges here, I see a city that's coming back. You ask people here if times are tough and they say, 'Yeah, it's tough, but we're tougher.'  .. . I don't know about you, but I'm not scared of tough times. I know we don't quit."

Republicans have pressed Obama for details on his jobs plans and have vowed to oppose any new spending proposals at a time when both parties are working to reduce the nation's spiraling debt.

The president did not announce any new ideas in Detroit, telling the crowd members that he wants them to "tune in Thursday night." Instead, he repeated previous calls on Congress to extend a payroll tax cut and to put construction workers back to work building roads and bridges.


If President Obama is ever to show a risk-taking, creative side during his term, this may be the last and best opportunity. Expectations are too high for him to offer a boxful of boilerplate solutions.

Read the rest of the article at the Washington Post.