White House Jobs Summit: Real Progress or PR Stunt?

The president and vice president will deliver remarks to open the forum and then members of the Cabinet will hold smaller working sessions on job creation, economic growth and green jobs.

"There are companies that are out there that are expanding. ... We have a variety of different ways we can really drill down and come up with concrete new ideas," Jarrett said, adding that the discussions in the job summit will focus on infrastructure, small jobs, exports, green jobs and "innovative ways to retooling our workforce."

In the coming weeks, "the president will be embracing those ideas, working with Congress if legislation is necessary," she added. "We do everything we can each and every day to bring down that unemployment rate."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Wednesday the government alone cannot create jobs to get the economy moving again.

"That's the private sector," he said. "What I think the president wants to do is hear from them on the type of environment that we can have that would allow for that hiring to take place."

The White House will carry the event live on its Web site at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

The Obama administration also wants regular Americans to contribute ideas to the discussion, and encourages citizens to hold their own forums in their community. The White House will send discussion questions and other material to facilitate the discussions. Hosts then can upload feedback to the White House Web site, where it will be compiled into the forum's report to the president.

Still, Morici said that the summit is another example of Washington trying to fix problems with meetings.

"They think they can solve everything by convening a committee," he said. "Look at his war decision. Obama really doesn't have ideas, and so he can't make decisions and he can't put programs into place that have results."

Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, echoed that criticism of the administration's efforts, dubbing the jobs summit "a political show." Dunkelberg gave the administration a "D" on creating new jobs.

"There's been a lot of money spent and authorized, but it really hasn't been very effective at delivering job creation," he told ABC News' business correspondent Betsy Stark.

But other analysts take a far brighter view of the administration's efforts, noting that the $787 billion stimulus plan has helped generate hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Just this week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the stimulus generated up to 1.6 million jobs during the fourth quarter, far exceeding even the administration's claims that the stimulus had saved or created 640,000 jobs.

The stimulus, said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, "was a bold and effective plan that's already created close to 1.5 million jobs."

Mishel, who will be attending the summit, gave the administration an "A" or "A-minus" on its job creation measures. Also among the summit's 130 attendees is Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

While Schmidt acknowledged that "everything in Washington is a little bit of political theater," he noted that the White House has been "pretty focused on the jobs issue privately for a very long time."

"They're very worried about it because they understand it both in an economic context as well as a political context," Schmidt told Stark.

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