During a town hall meeting in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Obama remarked: "I noticed the press yesterday, because we had this jobs forum at the White House, they said 'Obama's finally pivoting to jobs.' As if what we haven't been doing for the whole nine months from the day I was sworn in and we start talking about the recovery was all about jobs."
Matthews skeptically asked Newsweek's Howard Fineman: "Can he [Obama] credibly say he's been worrying about jobs all year?" Fineman proved Matthews point about the media "calling all the plays" for the President: "Oh, I think he can in one way or another. Yeah, I think he can because he would argue that the whole health care push is related to the well being of people and so forth." However, Fineman did point out: "But again, 17% total of people who are - don't have enough of a job or if you count the people who are underemployed as well. It's a huge number."
The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein was also part of the discussion and chimed in with his own defense of Obama's economic policy: "He got a good report - he got a good report this week from the Congressional Budget Office on the stimulus plan, saying it was between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs." Brownstein then argued: "He is relatively higher than you would expect a president to be in approval at a 10% unemployment." The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll released Friday placed Obama's approval rating at 48%, with 50% disapproval.
Brownstein concluded by warning: "...the real political question is if it [the unemployment rate] stays elevated all through 2010, does that inexorably pull him down? And if he comes down, the risk to Democrats in Congress goes up, point by point."
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.