AdWatch: Obama ad prods Congress on jobs plan

TITLE: "Jobs."

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: In Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and national cable.

KEY IMAGES: President Barack Obama speaking, interspersed with shots of workers in agriculture, construction and manufacturing settings. "We're still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," Obama says in a clip from a recent speech on the economy, adding that businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs in the past 27 months. He adds: "But we're still not creating them as fast as we want."

A narrator says the president's jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers and construction workers back to work, "right now," as pictures of people who do those jobs flash by. The narrator says Obama's job plan would be paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, as the camera pans down a leafy, upscale residential street. "But Congress refuses to act," the narrator says. "Tell Congress we can't wait."

ANALYSIS: In a race where fixing the nation's struggling economy and creating more jobs are dominant issues, this ad is an attempt by Obama to refocus blame on the divided Congress, where Republicans control the House and Democrats are the majority in the Senate. Obama is on the defensive over recent lackluster employment reports. He has been pushing a jobs plan that Congress rejected several months ago. Republicans blame Obama's policies for failing to improve the economy and create jobs.

The ad is airing in states that are expected to be highly competitive this fall. It buttresses Obama's pitch to voters in recent campaign speeches that he inherited an economic mess, but that things are getting better.

The ad does not mention Obama's rival, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It comes on the heels of an ad slamming Romney's economic record as governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007.

There's no specific mention, either, of the congressional Republicans who have blocked Obama's jobs proposals and who have proposed their own plans to bolster the economy and put more people to work.

Given the deep partisan divisions and gridlock in Congress, prospects for jolting the sagging economy before Election Day seem slim. So blaming Congress for failing to act on his jobs plan is a way for Obama to deflect responsibility.

There's scant appetite in Congress for new spending or bolder ideas. The White House doubts that congressional Republicans would help Obama push through even smaller economic measures because they worry it could boost his political stock as the election nears.

A "to-do" list Obama created for Congress includes a partial tax credit for new hires, extending tax breaks that are about to expire, renewing highway and mass transit construction programs and preventing interest rates on student loans from doubling. Those proposals alone hold little promise of lifting a $15 trillion economy from its slump.