Touring NC, Obama seeks jobs votes, piece by piece

By Julie Pace

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Oct. 17 2011 1:40 p.m. MDT

House Republicans also touted legislation due for a vote next week to repeal a law that would require the withholding of 3 percent of payments to government contractors. The measure was enacted in 2005 by a GOP-controlled Congress to try to ensure that contractors couldn't duck their taxes.

While Obama has pledged to travel the country pitching his plans to get Americans back to work, his stops have focused heavily on political swing states, underscoring the degree to which what happens with the economy is tied to Obama's re-election prospects.

Despite Obama's calls for urgency, it appears the lawmakers may not take up individual components of the president's bill until November, at the earliest. The Senate is set to debate appropriations bills this week, and lawmakers have a scheduled break at the end of the month.

The president will also speak at community colleges, high schools and a firehouse as he travels through North Carolina and Virginia this week.

Both North Carolina and Virginia are traditionally Republican leaning, but changing demographics and a boost in voter turnout among young people and African-Americans helped Obama carry them in 2008.

But nearly three years after his historic election, the president's approval ratings in both states are sagging, in line with the national trend.

A Quinnipiac University poll out earlier this month put Obama's approval rating in Virginia at 45 percent, with 52 percent disapproving. The same poll showed 83 percent of Virginians were dissatisfied with the direction of the country. In North Carolina, Obama has a 42 percent approval rating, according to an Elon University poll conducted this month. Most national polls put Obama's approval rating in the mid- to low-40s.

The conservative advocacy group American Crossroads planned to run television ads in both states during Obama's trip, criticizing the president's jobs proposals as a second round of stimulus spending.

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Andrew Taylor and Ben Feller in Washington, Bob Lewis in Richmond, Va., and Tom Breen in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

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