Obama presents jobs plan, defends Summers to House Democrats

July 31, 2013 at 3:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama offered a plan to encourage U.S. job growth to House Democrats Wednesday in a presentation Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called masterful.

Pelosi added the meeting between Obama and her caucus at the Capitol was a "very enthusiastic."

"I saluted the president as the persistent president," the California Democrat said.

Obama commented he thought Lawrence H. Summers, a senior economic adviser to the president and potential choice to head the Federal Reserve, had been maligned in the news media, said Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., who participated in the meeting.

Connolly said Obama described Summers as a rock of stability who deserved credit for helping steer the American economy back from the 2008 financial crisis, and noted Obama singled out the Huffington Post's negative coverage of Summers.

Obama emphasized he had not yet made a choice regarding the next Federal Reserve chairman, The New York Times reported.

Much of the meeting concerned the coordination the party's message as Obama travels the country during a five-week recess of Congress, the Washington newspaper The Hill reported.

"He wanted to make sure members of our caucus understood what his messaging would be. If it means anything to be a Democrat, it's fighting for folks who aren't looking to appear on 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,'" said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who also attended the meeting.

At a meeting with Senate Democrats, a fact card highlighting "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class" was distributed by White House aides, The Hill said.

It listed the president's goals for job creation, education, home ownership, secure retirement and affordable healthcare, noting 7.2 million new jobs had been created in 40 months, and that home foreclosures have dropped to their lowest level since 2006.

Obama also defended his noncommittal policy on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, and told senators he would be willing to meet with them to discuss potential reforms of National Security Agency surveillance programs.

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