Sept. 2 - President Barack Obama is putting together a jobs plan that will include a strategy to tackle unemployment and provide ''meaningful'' tax relief, according to Gene Sperling, head of the National Economic Council. Conway G. Gittens reports.
It's not the kind of news President Barack Obama wanted to hear as he prepares for a big jobs speech this coming Thursday. The U.S. economy added ZERO jobs in August and the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent. With numbers like that - critics say the President's jobs plan needs to be far-reaching. Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, says the report only strengthens Obama's resolve. SOUNDBITE: GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The economic case is quite compelling that we need to do something that can have a definitive and meaningful impact on projected economic growth over the next 12-18 months and on jobs growth. And the President felt very strongly about that even before the job growth number today and we have been working very closely with him for weeks to craft what we think will be a very meaningful package." Little detail of the jobs plan has leaked out, but Sperling did offer a few broad hints. SOUNDBITE: GENE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It will reflect his vision. But I also think that people will see that in the areas he discusses on tax cuts for workers and small businesses, strategies for the unemployed, jobs for rebuilding America, that these are the type of things that have been historically deserving of bi-partisan support and we are going to hope very much, and he is going to urge the Congress -very much - to put partisanship and politics to the side and put the economy and workers to the front." Obama has his work cut out for him. 14 million unemployed Americans will spend this long Labor Day weekend, wondering what the President will do to help them get back to work. Conway Gittens, Reuters