Kevin Lamarque, FILE-POOL, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is launching an ad campaign in politically key states to try and rally the public behind President Barack Obama's new jobs plan and pressure a divided Congress to act.
The television ads show portions of Obama's speech to Congress last week promoting the $447 billion package of tax cuts and new spending. They urge viewers to "Read it. Fight for it. ... Pass the President's Jobs Plan."
The spots were to begin airing Monday and are the first round in an effort that will last several weeks, said DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.
"The president has a plan to create jobs and help middle-class Americans get ahead and this effort is intended to communicate that plan to the American people and for the American people to communicate their support for his plan to their representatives in Washington," Woodhouse said.
The DNC push comes as Obama himself is embarking on a high-profile sales job to boost support for his plan as his re-election campaign gets under way with the economy stalled and unemployment stuck at 9.1 percent.
The president was formally sending the jobs bill to Capitol Hill on Monday and holding an event in the Rose Garden to call on lawmakers to swiftly back it. On Tuesday he'll pitch the plan in Ohio, home state of House Speaker John Boehner, and on Wednesday in North Carolina.
Obama also promoted the plan in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams aired Monday on the "Today" show. He said independent economists "are saying ... this buys us insurance against a double-dip recession. And it almost certainly helps the economy grow and will put more people back to work, and that's what the American people want right now."
The centerpiece of the plan cuts payroll taxes that pay for Social Security, giving a tax break to workers and businesses. There's also new spending for teachers and school construction, and an extension of jobless benefits, among other elements. Republican lawmakers who control the House seem more open to the tax cuts than the new spending.
The DNC ads don't target any specific lawmakers, or make any reference to the looming 2012 presidential campaign. But they're airing in key markets in some of the most critical swing and early voting states: Denver; Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa; Las Vegas; Manchester, N.H.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; and Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke, Va.; as well as Washington, D.C.
The 30-second spots open with footage of Obama exhorting Congress during his speech to a joint session last Thursday, telling lawmakers: "The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here, the people who hired us to work for them, they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months." As dramatic music plays, lettering on the screen urges viewers to read the jobs plan and fight for it. There are two slightly different versions, one with more shots of Obama speaking and the other with a few bullet points detailing the plan, and they will alternate.
At the same time the DNC is rolling out ads to Internet platforms including Facebook, Hulu, and other sites.
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