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Obama warns GOP in advance of jobs speech

September 05, 2011|By Christi Parsons | Washington Bureau
  • President Obama speaks at a Labor Day event outside the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Detroit on Monday.
President Obama speaks at a Labor Day event outside the Renaissance Hotel… (Jeff Kowalski/EPA )

Reporting from Detroit — President Obama sent a warning shot across the bow of congressional Republicans in his Labor Day speech in Detroit this afternoon, pledging to hold them accountable publicly if they fail to support the job-creation plan he puts forth later this week.

The proposal he’ll outline in his address to Congress on Thursday is filled with “bipartisan ideas,” Obama said, and Republicans can either get on board or explain their refusal to the American people.

“I’m going to propose ways to put people to work [that] both parties can agree to,” Obama said. “We’re going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before politics.”

Obama held back specifics of his plan as he addressed the crowd of union activists, many of whom want to see him propose a bold spending plan that would create jobs and spur the economy. The Democratic president suggested he will call for road and bridge construction, but he did not hint at its scope or cost.

Despite the lack of specifics, however, the union crowd interrupted Obama’s remarks several times with chants of “four more years!” The assembly also cheered wildly when Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa Jr., during a pre-Obama warm-up act, urged activists to oppose Obama’s critics by taking “these sons of bitches out.” Obama was not present for that comment.

Later, though, Obama had pointed remarks for Republicans in Congress.

It’s time for those elected officials to stop worrying about their own jobs, he said, and to start worrying about those of working men and women. Obama all but promised to propose extension of the payroll tax holiday, which benefits the middle class.

“You say you’re the party of tax cuts?” Obama said. “Show us what you got.”

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