By Joyce Jones
President Obama took his "Pass this Bill!" message to Raleigh, North Carolina today -- a battleground state where the unemployment rate is ten percent. In his remarks, he said that the American Jobs Act would create tens of thousands of new jobs and help middle class families and local small businesses. He also announced an initiative that would cut in half the time federal agencies take to pay small businesses, from 30 to 15 days.
Obama, who has in the past week visited Ohio and Virginia to promote his jobs bill, also warned that Congress may attempt to prolong the process of passing the legislation because some Republicans, he charged, don't want to give him a win.
"Give me a win? Give me a break!" told a crowd of about 9,300 people at North Carolina State University. "I get fed up with that kind of game plan, and we've been seeing it for too long. We're in a national emergency. We've been grappling with a crisis for three years, and instead of getting folks to rise up above partisanship in a spirit that says, 'we're all in this together,' you've got folks who are purposely dividing, purposely thinking just in terms of how does this play out in terms of this election."
As Obama spoke to supporters in North Carolina, several House Democrats gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon to urge their colleagues to pass the jobs bill as swiftly as possible.
"We have an opportunity in this country to do some great things. But I will tell you right now, what we can't do is stand on the morally bankrupt obstruction of the Republicans. At the end of the day, this is about purpose; it's not about politics or what side will win or lose," said Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana). "It's about which side is going to stand up and invest in this country. We're on the side that's willing to do that."
Rep. Karen Bass (D-California) applauded the president's efforts to keep engaging the public on the issue and said that members are urging their constituents to let every member of Congress know where they stand on the issue.
"I believe that the way you make a difference is by involving as many people as possible," she said. "It's really important that it not be viewed as: It's the president's responsibility to make this happen or that it's Congress' sole responsibility to make it happen. I think that the president presented us with an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people around the country to get involved in this effort around putting Americans back to work."