President Obama sought to rally public support for his newly unveiled jobs plan Friday, casting his $447 billion package as a bipartisan proposal that will get Americans back to work quickly even though it doesn't actually exist in legislative form yet.
Speaking at the University of Richmond in the home turf of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, one of his top Republican foes, Obama picked up right where he left off Thursday night, when he implored lawmakers to quickly enact the as-yet-to-be introduced bill.
"Let's pass this jobs bill right away," he said, echoing his prime-time speech to a joint session of Congress in which he used a variant of the phrase 17 times. "Let's pass this jobs bill now and put these folks to work."
The White House said the choice of destination in Cantor's congressional home district had more to do with Richmond's proximity to Washington than taking a jab at the Virginia Republican, who has been one of the president's fiercest critics. Cantor, who politely rejected an opportunity to join the president Friday morning, said he'd be willing to work with the White House on a job-creation plan so long as Obama doesn't pursue an "all-or-nothing" strategy.
The plan the president laid out Thursday night in a nationally televised speech contains $253 billion in tax cuts and $194 billion in new spending. It would increase and extend a Social Security payroll tax cut for workers. It also provides a tax cut to employers. Most of Obama's proposals stand little chance of being implemented without the backing of congressional Republicans, who control the House.
An administration official said Friday that the White House "will present the legislative language to the Hill early next week for the American Jobs Act, which will increase the deficit reduction target of the Joint Committee by its full amount and we will specify how we are going to pay for it in legislation that we will send up."
Obama will present his pay-go recommendations to the committee on Sept. 19. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office has not yet said when he plans to place the bill on the Senate legislative calendar.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Friday, urging immediate action on the president's plan.
"You have my promise of support from Democrats in moving rapidly to consider the American Jobs Act and additional proposals that achieve our jobs and growth goals responsibly and effectively," she said.
House aides say there are pieces of the president's plan they're open to introducing -- regulatory changes and tax cuts for small businesses -- or pairing with their plans for the same.
The conversations between the administration and Republicans have not begun, according to a senior Republican aide. The aide said the president spoke with Boehner Thursday afternoon and only provided a "topline preview" of the economic proposal. The aide added that much of the president's plan is like the stimulus bill, which Republicans opposed during the congressional debate in 2009 and still oppose.
Haunted by criticisms of its projections for its 2009 economic stimulus plan, the White House does not plan to issue a forecast for job creation in Obama's new jobs plan. In 2009, the White House economic team said the president's $800 billion stimulus plan would push the unemployment rate down to about 7 percent by now.
Instead, the jobless rate remains stubbornly stuck at above 9 percent, which has supplied administration critics with ammunition to attack the president's economic plans and policies.
But the White House has distributed analyses by outside economists that estimated the plan could create up to 1.9 million jobs. These economists cautioned, however, that the effects would be temporary and that the long-term impact of the plan would depend on the ability of the economy to build momentum and sustain growth on its own.
As for Cantor, he was planning to hold his own event in Richmond later Friday, speaking at a local business about his party's plans for job growth.
Obama carried Virginia, a traditionally Republican state, in the 2008 election, and he'll likely need to win it again in order to guarantee his reelection.
The White House communications team went into overdrive in the hours after the speech, sending out dozens of emails from lawmakers and organizations offering their support for the president's speech. Nearly all were from lawmakers in the president's own party or organizations that traditionally support Democrats.
Fox Business Network's Peter Barnes, Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.