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Obama Kicks Off Jobs Offensive

President Barack Obama will close out the summer with a public relations blitz on jobs and the economy — the issue that is shaping the political landscape for November.

“I think you will hear the president — and you heard him today, after meeting with his economic team, and you will hear him over the course of the next several weeks outlining a series of ideas, some of which are stuck in the Congress and some of which we continue to work through the economic team, that will be targeted measures that continue to spur our recovery and to create an environment in which the private sector is hiring,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday.

After meeting with his top economic advisers, Obama on Monday called on the Senate to pass a long-stalled small-business jobs bill when it returns from the Congressional recess Sept. 13. During brief remarks in the Rose Garden, Obama called on Senate Republicans to “drop the blockade” of the languishing measure.

“I know we’re entering election season, but the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy,” he said.

But Obama noted that the small-business bill was not a “silver bullet” to stem the country’s economic woes. Gibbs later added that the president would discuss other jobs proposals in speeches and events over the next few weeks. Gibbs also said that White House advisers would float policy ideas to Members of Congress shortly after the break.

One of the subjects likely to be discussed, and fuel quite a bit of debate, is the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts passed during President George W. Bush’s tenure. The Senate is expected to begin debating the tax cuts in September, although Democrats have not coalesced around a plan for how to address the issue.

In his briefing with reporters Monday, Gibbs reiterated Obama’s desire for Congress to pass an extension of the tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 and criticized Republicans for pushing to extend the tax cuts for wealthier Americans.

“I think that the president hopes [that] the small-business bill passes as soon as possible and believes that it is important to extend the signal to extend middle-class tax cuts as soon as we can,” Gibbs said. He later added: “You have to ask yourself, is the thing that you can do to provide the greatest stimulative effect to our economy extending tax cuts for those that make above $250,000 a year?”

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