Opposition growing to Obama jobs plan

WASHINGTON -- A week after laying out his $447 billion jobs plan, President Obama is getting more push back from Republicans and Democrats alike.

House Speaker John Boehner, who was initially subdued in his criticism, lashed out Thursday at "initiatives that seem to have more to do with the next election than the next generation."

A mix of moderate and liberal Democrats also are voicing concerns about the plan's size and its emphasis on cutting some taxes and increasing others.

While those concerns are what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called "anecdotal" rather than unanimous, the hesitance by some Democrats to embrace the entire plan could force the White House to accept its breakup into smaller pieces.

"You do have some thunder on the right as well as on the left," said Bill Galston, a former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton. "The president obviously is in a politically weakened situation right now."

The White House gave no indication Thursday that Obama's tactics would change as he enters the second week of his jobs campaign. He will continue to speak out in swing states crucial to next year's election:

• He's scheduled to return Friday for the second time in a week to Virginia, where he will sign legislation designed to speed up the awarding of patents to entrepreneurs.

• He will travel next Thursday to Cincinnati, near the House district of Boehner and the home state of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, to highlight the need for federal spending on road and bridge projects that could jump-start construction hiring.

"We're trying to highlight an urgent need here, and we certainly think this is a good way to do it," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

While Obama has focused so far on school and highway repairs and aid to small businesses, opposition is growing to other pieces of the plan from moderate Democrats.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia questioned the level and effectiveness of spending. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia opposed raising income taxes on upper-income Americans to pay for it, while Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said taxing oil and gas companies was unfair.

Even lawmakers who usually support the president voiced reservations. Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania said the plan should be dismantled and passed in pieces, while Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware said the best way to create jobs would be to cut the deficit — something Obama is set to address on Monday.

Despite those reservations, most Democrats continue to support the plan, and the Democratic National Committee is boosting it with TV ads.

"Our caucus is very unified," Pelosi said. "They may differ with some provisions within it or the pay-fors, but they do not differ in the fact that we must get behind it, we must pass it."

"For the first time in six months, the president and Democrats are walking forward, not ceding ground," said Jim Kessler at Third Way, a moderate Democratic think tank. "That's not to say it's a sprint. It's still a slog."