ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf and Devin Dwyer report:
On this Thanksgiving, President Obama and top House Republican Mike Pence, R-Ind., each used his party’s weekly address in a bipartisan display of gratitude for U.S. servicemen and women serving abroad.
But turning to the economic struggles facing more than 10 percent of Americans who don’t have jobs this holiday season, Obama and Pence offered starkly different views on how to fix the problem.
“Too many are wondering if the dream of a middle class life – that American Dream – is slipping away,” Obama said. “It’s the worry I hear from folks across the country; good, hard-working people doing the best they can for their families – but fearing that their best just isn’t good enough. These are not strangers. They are our family, our friends, and our neighbors. Their struggles must be our concern.”
The president argued that his economic policies and the stimulus “have helped break the back of the recession,” but he acknowledged that jobs growth has not yet materialized and “no matter what the economists say, for families and communities across the country, this recession will not end until we completely turn that tide.”
Looking ahead to next week’s jobs summit, Obama said “it is my fervent hope – and my heartfelt expectation – that next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate the fact that many of those who have lost their jobs are back at work, and that as a nation we will have come through these difficult storms stronger and wiser and grateful to have reached a brighter day.”
Pence, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, challenged White House assertions that the $787 billion stimulus plan is working, saying Obama’s promise that it would keep unemployment below 8 percent has not come true. The national unemployment rate stands at 10.2 percent.
“And what is the White House’s answer to our struggles? Another meeting next week — a ‘jobs summit’ – and most likely another proposal to grow government, raise taxes and place more debt on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren,” he said.
Pence said Republicans have proposals to grow the economy, achieve energy independence and lower the cost of health care. “The way to stimulate this economy and help working families is to let Americans keep more of their hard-earned money, not taking more from their wallets,” he said.