Face the Nation this week: DNC, RNC chiefs debate

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (left) and RNC Chair Reince Priebus
CBS/Getty Images

This Sunday's guests on "Face the Nation" are the party chairs: Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the Democratic National Committee and Reince Priebus of the Republican National Committee. Also appearing will be CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson and Mark Zandi, the chief Economist of Moody's Analytics.

With 14 months to go until the November 2012 election, the Obama White House seems to have changed course. Coming off a vacation after the demoralizing debt debate in August, the president went to Congress to push a $447 billion Jobs bill and then presented a plan for trillions of dollars in long-term debt reduction. Neither plan was well received across the aisle on Capitol Hill.

With jobs and the economy overwhelmingly being the number one issue for voters, the president clearly needs something to pass to turn around his lagging poll numbers. According to the latest CBS News/New York Times Poll, 50 percent of Americans now disapprove of the president's job performance, an all-time high. Only 43 percent approve of his performance, down 5 percent since August.

On the economy specifically, 57 percent disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy and 53 percent disapprove of his performance on job creation. Now 68 percent of Americans say he has not made progress fixing the economy.

When pitted against top Republican contenders, Mr. Obama doesn't seem to fare much better. A new Quinnipiac University poll taken in the key state of Florida shows the president trailing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by seven points, 47-40, and barely beating Texas Governor Rick Perry 42-40 percent. Overall, according to the Quinnipiac poll, 53 percent of Florida voters say Mr. Obama doesn't deserve another term.

So now the president has taken his jobs push into campaign mode.

"There is work to be done, and there are workers ready to do it. So let's tell Congress to pass this jobs bill right away," he said yesterday to a campaign-like event in Cincinnati, Ohio, asking Congress to pass the bill to put Americans back to work fixing infrastructure projects like the Brent Spence Bridge, his backdrop for yesterday's event. "Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!" cheered the audience.

"It is fair to say we've entered a new phase," Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director told the New York Times. That phase seems to be taking the fight to Congress instead of seeking compromise with the Republicans, which created significant battles and left many in the president's own party disillusioned with his leadership. Promising what appears to be a change of strategy on both the jobs and debt plans, Pfeiffer said that what happened in the past, specifically negotiations to avoid a government shutdown and default by not raising the debt ceiling, was in the past.

"We were in a position of legislative compromise by necessity. That phase is behind us," he told the Times.

Will the White House strategy be enough to pass the jobs plan and turn around the president's re-election hopes? Can the jobs plan get the job done? What else can the White House do to spur the economy and turn around public opinion that shows 72 percent of Americans thinking the country is headed in the wrong direction?

Those questions will be among the issues this Sunday when the DNC's Wasserman Schultz, the RNC's Priebus -- as well as Zandi, O'Donnell and Dickerson -- join Bob Schieffer to Face the Nation.

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.