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Absorbed as he has been by healthcare reform and other long-range priorities, the president has had to admit that he must now zero in on economic growth.
Yes, he had pledged private-market jobs since entering the White House a year ago. But he hasn’t delivered much that's visible to the American people. Unemployment remains stuck above 10 percent – 2 points higher than he planned when he signed the $787 billion stimulus package last spring. More than 15 million Americans remain out of work since the recession began in late 2007.
Opinion polls and a surprise Senate election result in Massachusetts have spoken loudly to a humbled president who has had to hit his reset button.
The massive federal spending for an economic recovery has mainly kept workers on the job in state and local governments. Twice last year, Congress rejected the one job-creating idea that Obama has championed since his 2008 presidential campaign: tax benefits for small businesses that hire new workers.
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