Obama Seeks to Show Commitment to Jobs

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
With polls telling the White House that the economy and unemployment are the leading concerns of the American people, President Obama wants to be seen pivoting to those issues.

By no means is he abandoning other items on his domestic agenda, especially not efforts to restructure health care in America, but he will be going to greater lengths to address economic concerns in this midterm election year.

The Labor Dept today reported the economy lost 85,000 payroll jobs in December. The national jobless rate remains unchanged and still in double digits at 10 percent.

In the president's view, his administration has succeeded in ending the hemorrhaging of 700,000 jobs per month, which was the job loss number when he took office nearly a year ago.

He credits his stimulus policies, including the $787-billion Recovery Act. Today, he's announcing new funding from the program to support tens of thousands of clean energy jobs and promote the manufacture of advanced clean energy technologies including solar and wind.

"Even though we've stopped the rapid job losses that we were seeing just a few months ago, more than seven million Americans have lost their jobs in the two years since this recession began," said the president in a speech last month.

Where America Stands: The Future of Jobs in America
Poll: After 20 Years, Most Say New Job Skills Needed

"Unemployment still stands at 10 percent. So we're not finished with our task -- far from it. We've got a lot of work to do," he said. "And I promise you, in the White House we're hard at work every single day, until every single person who wants a job can find a job."

And Mr. Obama will be seen staging several more economic events next week. And later in the month, he is to visit Lorain County, Ohio as part of his "White House to Main Street" tour to spotlight efforts to promote job creation.

The White House also embraces congressional calls for another round of stimulus spending – perhaps as much as $150-billion - to create jobs and further steady the economy.

It's clearly a political issue. In a statement this morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sought to score points for the GOP saying it's time for the president to "put his full and undivided attention on fixing our economy."

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/markknoller.
  • Mark Knoller On Twitter»

    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.