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Obama counter-programs as Senate votes, GOP debates

October 11, 2011|By Christi Parsons | Washington Bureau
  • President Obama speaks during a meeting of his Jobs Council at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 5 Training Center in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
President Obama speaks during a meeting of his Jobs Council at the International… (Susan Walsh / Associated…)

Reporting from Pittsburgh — When the Senate considers his jobs bill tonight, President Obama plans to be cloistered with a small group of unemployed construction workers in Florida.

And instead of watching the Republican presidential debate, he'll catch the Tigers-Rangers playoff game.

But advisors to Obama say he isn’t tuning out, just focusing on his own game.

Obama’s top campaign advisors believe that the public is rallying around his call to pass the $447-billion job-creation plan and that the more he talks about it, the more the support rises.

"After three weeks of advocacy by the president," Obama strategist David Axelrod said in a new memo out today, "support has grown by nearly 10 percent."

Still, the Obama-crafted plan isn't expected to get the 60 votes needed in the Democratic-led Senate to cross a procedural hurdle.

Even if it did, it would ultimately face a Republican-led House that is even less interested in the tax-the-wealthy provisions it contains.

Obama's continued campaign across the country -- he's in Pittsburgh touting his proposed American Jobs Act today -- strikes some as obstinacy.

"With unemployment stuck at 9.1 percent, the White House's plan is to keep at it, to keep encouraging Congress to pass the president's bill. The one that will be dead." Brendan Buck, press secretary for House Speaker John Boehner, wrote in a morning email memo.

After touring a job training center at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers here today, Obama will head from Pennsylvania to another electorally critical state, Florida.

And when the Senate votes, Obama will be meeting with out-of-work construction workers he'd like to rehire as part of his jobs plan, to repair public schools and build roads and bridges across the country.

Given the matter before senators, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, it seemed like "an important thing to do."

So is tonight's baseball game, in which the Detroit Tigers will try to climb out of a 2-0 hole against the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship series.

Michigan is, after all, an important part of the Obama reelection strategy. He heads to Detroit to visit autoworkers on Friday.

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