October 12th, 2011
01:11 PM ET
With his $447 billion jobs bill stalled in the Senate, President Obama on Wednesday previewed several of the attack lines he will level in the coming weeks against Senate Republicans who put the brakes on the legislation from moving forward.
“Last night even though a majority of senators voted in favor of the American Jobs Act, a Republican minority got together and blocked this jobs bill from passing the Senate,” Obama told Latino community leaders at an event in Washington. “They said no to more jobs for teachers. No to more jobs for cops and firefighters. No to more jobs construction workers and veterans. No to tax cuts for small business owners and middle class Americans.”
The comments came the morning after the bill Obama has pushed for over a month failed to garner the 60 votes needed in the Senate to proceed. A total of 50 members of the chamber supported the measure, while 49 cast ballots against it. Democrats remained largely united save for Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana, both who face tough reelection challenges.
But in his speech Wednesday, the president vowed to push for measures within the bill that were likely to draw more bipartisan support – a strategy that White House officials foresaw weeks ago when it became clear the complete plan had no chance of winning substantial GOP support.
“A lot of folks in Washington and the media will look at last night’s vote and say that’s it, let’s move on to the next fight. But I’ve got news for them: not this time,” Obama said. “Not with so many Americans out of work, not with so many folks in your communities hurting. We will not take no for an answer.”
Obama’s remarks were also notable for where he delivered them: before an influential voting bloc that has continuously waivered between the Democrat and Republican tents over the last decade.
“This job bill would cut taxes for virtually every worker and small business in America - 25 million Latinos would benefit,” the president said as part of his latest effort to shore up his support in the community that broke his way 3-1 in 2008.
“I ran for president for the same reason many people came to this country in the first place. Because I believe America should always be a place where you can always make it if you try,” he also said, drawing loud applause.
The president’s direct appeal to Latinos is his second in the last month as recent polls suggest his support among members of that community has now slipped slightly below 50 percent – a devastating 20 percent drop from three years ago. Likely causes of the waning support include the recession’s harder bite on Latino workers and the president’s unfulfilled promise of immigration reform.