Obama Concentrates on Economy as Election Nears

President Obama will unveil a new plan to create jobs next week. The White House had promised a recovery summer, but unemployment rose to 9.6 percent last month, and more than six million people have been out of work for half a year or longer.

With the midterm elections approaching, the economy is now front and center. Democrats' chances of holding on to one — or perhaps both — houses of Congress keep sinking as the unemployment rate rises.

And the president is getting a lot of the blame, CBS News Correspondent Bill Plante reports.

"Where are the jobs?" asked Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky. "The Obama administration told the American people this would be a recovery summer, but our economy continues to lose jobs."

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President Obama, who's been saying there's no quick fix but that things are getting better, will announce some new proposals to help small business Wednesday in Cleveland.

Obama to Focus on Economy Next Week

"We want to keep this recovery moving stronger and accelerate the job growth that's needed so desperately all across the country," Mr. Obama told reporters in the White House Rose Garden Friday.

The likely proposals - all tax breaks rather than new spending - include:

• Temporary business tax credits for hiring new workers
• Temporary employer tax incentives for jobs in clean energy
• Making permanent the tax credit for research and development.

The administration also plans to roll out additional mortgage help for homeowners.

Report: Obama Considers Tax Cuts to Boost Economy

But realistically, says economist Mark Zandi, none of this is likely to help the president and Democrats when voters go to the polls in two months.

"There isn't a lot that can be done that would make a meaningful difference to the job market, certainly not in the near term, not in the next six to nine months," said Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.

What's more, the standoff in Congress between Democrats and Republicans continues.

Mr. Obama has lashed out repeatedly at Republicans for opposing his small business tax cuts.

"It's good for small-business people, it's good for our economy, and yet Republicans in the Senate have blocked this bill," Mr. Obama said Friday.

Republicans are also likely to block the extension of the tax cuts expiring this year if the president insists on ending the cuts for incomes of more than $250,000.

"He wants to stop some tax hikes and not others, once again putting the government in the position of picking winners and losers and pitting taxpayer against taxpayer," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Aug. 24.

The president will spend most of his time in the coming weeks talking about the economy, blaming the Bush administration for inherited deficits and promising that better times are ahead. Republicans are betting it won't work.

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent