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To "Stimulate"... but Not "Stimulus"

President Obama held his second news conference on Friday and defended his economic initiatives. He took off his gloves and went after Republicans, giving Democrats a ray of hope that they can maintain control of Congress after the midterm elections with their ideas.

Mr. Obama's critics have also hit hard, however, calling his new economic proposals a ploy to entice voters, with midterms less than eight weeks away.

"We're hardly Johnny-come-latelys on this issue," the president told CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Chip Reid. "I have no problem with people saying, 'The president is trying to stimulate growth and hiring.' Isn't that what I should be doing? I would assume that's what Republicans think we should do: to stimulate growth and jobs."

The president used the word "stimulate" throughout his news conference, but are his economic proposals a sign of a second stimulus? His initiatives from his first stimulus proved to be unpopular with voters and may cost Democrats at the polls.

On Friday's Washington Unplugged, Reid told CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer, "Even though the White House likes to claim that it saved or created somewhere in the vicinity of three million jobs, the American public doesn't seem to believe it... Robert Gibbs refuses to utter the word 'stimulus' in the briefings... [President Obama] also refused to use the word 'stimulus'... It's a word that's just taboo here at the White House."

Charles Ellison, contributing writer for, also weighed in.

"I agree with Chip, this is a stimulus. There's no way around it," he told Schieffer. "Democrats need to show that they're very serious about the economy, that they're actually paying attention to what people on the street are saying."

Schieffer asked Ellison whether fearful Democrats, some whose jobs are at stake, would buy the new White House economic strategy.

"I don't think so. We're less than 60 days away from Election Day," Ellison said. "Right now Democrats can hope that they don't lose as many seats as have been projected... [Democrats] can only hope to stave off the bleeding... I don't think Democrats have a lot of elbow room to start positioning and pivoting less than 60 days from the election."

Schieffer asked Reid if any of the president's new legislation will pass in Congress.

"I have not found anybody who thinks this latest package he rolled out is going to pass in any form at all," Reid responded. "They are just at each other's throats on Capitol Hill... The chances are pretty close to nil."

Watch Friday's Washington Unplugged above also featuring CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate with this week's Flash Points and Washington Post's Sally Quinn, co-founder of "On Faith" on "Islamophobia".

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 2:00 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

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