"I think all of them are waste," McCain said of the 100 projects in his latest report, issued in August. "I think none of them really have any meaningful impact on creating jobs. And of course some are more egregious than others, but all of them are terrible."
In a statement to ABC News today, McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said: "$1.1 trillion in stimulus spending, yet unemployment remains at a stagnant 9.6%, home foreclosures are up 25%, and the national debt is an ever increasing $13 trillion. Whatever happened to Administration's guarantee that unemployment would not rise above 8%? So much for the 'summer of recovery.'"
While the Republican criticism certainly has put the White House on the defensive, it is the discontent among the American electorate that poses the biggest threat to the administration as it continues to sell its economic agenda.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showed 92 percent of Americans say the economy's in bad shape while a mere 24 percent believe it's improving. And for the first time, more people think President Obama has hurt the economy than helped it, 33 percent to 30 percent. In addition, the number of people who believe he's helped the economy has dropped by 9 percentage points since spring.
"When you put all the things we've done together, it has made a difference," President Obama said at a press conference at the White House last week. "Three million people have jobs that wouldn't have them otherwise had we not taken these steps. The economy would be in much worse shape.
"It worked," Obama said. "It just hasn't done as much as we need it to do. We've still got a long ways to go and we're going to keep on doing it."
Earlier this year, Obama visited one of the 100 projects in the report to highlight its effectiveness.
On April 2, he traveled to North Carolina to visit Celgard, a company that manufactures battery separator materials used in lithium-ion batteries for electric-drive vehicles. The company has said their stimulus-funded project already has supported more than 100 jobs and will support more than 250 by the time the project is complete.
"Through investments like this one across the country, we're already seeing an incredible transformation," Obama said.
"What we can see here at this plant is that the worst of the storm is over, that brighter days are still ahead," he said. "In Charlotte and all across the country, we can see the promise and possibility that awaits us."
Five months later, in the face of continued criticism, the White House still is trying to put a spotlight on that promise and possibility.
"These are innovative projects that helped not only create good jobs today, but also helped plant the seeds of new industries tomorrow," Bernstein said.