Obama Says "Pass This Bill" 11 Times

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 12 2011 11:38 AM

Obama Says "Pass This Bill" 11 Times

That was my count from his Rose Garden speech, one of those all-too-ordinary affairs now in which the Massive Public Support for a piece of legislation is demonstrated by a casting-couch assemblage of ordinary people. Rhetorically, it's perfect. What does the average lunkhead now know about the scene in Congress? The president has A Bill, and he wants Congress to Pass It. What's in the bill? Around $447 billion in spending and tax cuts. Is it paid for? He says it is, but look -- the point is that he wants Congress to Pass The Bill.

In a piece that the president actually cited, Marin Cogan and Jake Sherman get at the problem.

“Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?” said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely. “I just don’t want to co-own the economy by having to tout that we passed a jobs bill that won’t work or at least won’t do enough.”
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Yep. This directly contradicts the Republican message, which Speaker Boehner repeated in his statement on the bill: "We will continue to call on our colleagues in the Democratic-led Senate to take action on the numerous job creation bills passed by the House that await consideration in their chamber." House Republicans have passed a series of regulation-rollback and energy exploration bills. The economy would be responding to them, they say -- ah, but that Democratic Senate won't move the bills! Because stories about bills dying in the Senate are boring, no one pays attention to this. Even so, it's a better position for the opposition to be in than the one Obama is threatening -- co-ownership of a "Jobs Act" that will probably not drastically reduce unemployment before November 2012.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.