Obama turns to selling public on jobs plan

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RICHMOND (AP) — President Barack Obama took the sales pitch for his newly unveiled jobs plan on the road Friday, venturing out of Washington and into the home turf of one of his top Republican antagonists. It was the first of many expected efforts b

RICHMOND (AP) — President Barack Obama took the sales pitch for his newly unveiled jobs plan on the road Friday, venturing out of Washington and into the home turf of one of his top Republican antagonists. It was the first of many expected efforts by the president to rally public support for his $447 billion initiative.

The president, set to speak at the University of Richmond, is casting his jobs package as a bipartisan plan that will get Americans back to work quickly.

Obama was opening his public relations campaign in the congressional district of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The White House said the choice of destination had more to do with Richmond’s proximity to Washington than taking a jab at the Virginia Republican, who has been one of the president’s fiercest critics. Cantor did say Friday morning that he’d be willing to work with the White House on a job-creation plan so long as Obama doesn’t pursue an "all-or-nothing" strategy.

The plan the president laid out Thursday night in a nationally televised speech contains $253 billion in tax cuts and $194 billion in new spending. It would increase and extend a Social Security payroll tax cut for workers. It also provides a tax cut to employers. Most of Obama’s proposals stand little chance of being implemented without the backing of congressional Republicans.

Still, eager to apply pressure on Republicans and make a case for the plan, the White House distributed analyses by outside economists that estimated the plan could create up to 1.9 million jobs. These economists cautioned, however, that the effects would be temporary and that the long-term impact of the plan would depend on the ability of the economy to build momentum and sustain growth on its own.

Cantor planned to hold his own event in Richmond later Friday, speaking about his party’s plans for job growth at a local business.

Obama carried Virginia, a traditionally Republican state, in the 2008 election, and he’ll likely need to win it again in order to guarantee his re-election.

The White House communications team went into overdrive in the hours after the speech, sending out dozens of emails from lawmakers and organizations offering their support for the president’s speech. Nearly all were from lawmakers in the president’s own party or organizations that traditionally support Democrats.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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