More Republicans skipping Obama's speech to Congress

Rep. Paul Broun
AP

President Obama is set to make a prime-time televised address to Congress to lay out his vision for creating jobs Thursday night, but an increasing number of Republicans are not going to be there and party leaders have chosen not to give an official response.

Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh last week said the speech, which is meant to provide a high-profile venue for Mr. Obama's vision for creating jobs, is simply a political speech and he does not want to be used as a prop for the president. He also said Mr. Obama was abusing his power by seeking to speak to Congress on a topic that is not a national emergency.

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who hosted a forum for GOP candidates in South Carolina over the weekend, said he does not think he will attend because he would prefer to read the speech text.

And Republican Rep. Paul Broun now plans to hold a Twitter town hall from his office at the same time as the speech, scheduled to start tomorrow night at 7:00 pm ET.

The Georgia lawmaker plans to use the time "so he can interact with his constituents," spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti told CBS News, adding that "jobs are at the forefront of everyone's mind" and it is a better use of his time to hear from constituents than sit in the House chamber.

Griffranti added that Dr. Broun is a multi-tasker--he does intend to watch the speech while his online conversation is taking place.

It's not the first time Broun has skipped a big speech in the House chamber. Broun was in his office for the State of the Union in January while providing a running commentary of the speech online.

In his remarks, Mr. Obama is expected to propose injecting more than $300 billion into the economy next year, through a combination of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and direct aid to state and local governments.

Obama is also expected to propose targeted measures to tweak the administration's program aimed at helping struggling homeowners but a blanket refinance program is not expected.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said Mr. Obama's proposals would not add to the long-term deficit because any short-term costs would be offset by future spending cuts.

"The president will propose new meaningful initiatives to create jobs and grow the economy and it will be fully paid for," Pfeiffer tweeted from his Twitter account, @pfeiffer44.

House Republicans do not plan to make a formal response to Obama's speech, as is typically done with major presidential addresses to Congress.

"We trust in the good judgment of the American people, and the president's proposals will rise or fall on their own merits," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

The lack of a response "is not only disrespectful to him, but to the American people," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said. "The Republican silence on Thursday evening will speak volumes about their lack of commitment to creating jobs."

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter»

    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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