In his weekly presidential address, President Obama said the abysmal jobs numbers released Friday compel the Senate to pass his stimulus bill or risk a "national catastrophe."
"Yesterday began with some devastating news with regard to our economic crisis," he said, invoking "another round of alarming employment figures -– the worst in more than 30 years. Another 600,000 jobs were lost in January. We’ve now lost more than 3.6 million jobs since this recession began."
That said, the president said he was "pleased to say [the day] ended on a more positive note…by the evening, Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands."
President Obama then warned, "if we don’t move swiftly to put this plan in motion, our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe. Millions of Americans will lose their jobs, their homes, and their health care. Millions more will have to put their dreams on hold."
Mr. Obama described his opponents as offering "tired old theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first place" and "a losing formula that offers only tax cuts as the answer to all our problems while ignoring our fundamental economic challenges…"
Then after this shot, the president offered this note of bipartisanship, saying the American people "don’t expect Democratic solutions or Republican solutions -– they expect American solutions."
After outlining some of the jobs his plan will create — he’s back to saying the bill will "save or create" more than 3 million jobs over the next two years — the president concludes by saying, "Americans across this country are struggling, and they are watching to see if we’re equal to the task before us. Let’s show them that we are. And let’s do whatever it takes to keep the promise of America alive in our time."
In the address, the president said the bill will create "16,000 [jobs] in Maine, nearly 80,000 in Indiana –- almost all of them in the private sector, and all of them jobs that help us recover today, and prosper tomorrow."
The reference to Maine — with its two GOP moderate senators, needed to pass the bill — is not a coincidence.
Mention of Indiana — where the president will visit Monday — is an unmistakable reference to Hoosier GOP Sen. Dick Lugar, an Obama friend whom Democrats have also targeted for his vote.