President Turns from Diplomacy to Jobs

POSTED: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 11:42am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:59pm

With Turkey's Prime Minister, President Obama turned from diplomacy to jobs.

"Our biggest challenge now is making sure that job growth matches up with economic growth," said Obama. Fresh off the heels of his jobs summit, the President is weighing calls to loosen credit for small businesses, aid to homeowners to weatherize, called "Cash For Caulkers" and aid to states to retain workers: teachers and firefighters.

To do it, the Obama team is eyeing funds from last year's Wall Street bailout. Banks have repaid much of it. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said, "And that creates real resources, that the President and Congress can now use to meet the challenges still facing the country."

GOP critics cry ‘stop spending.’ South Dakota Senator John Thune said, "If they're able to extend it, that this money is all going to get spent." Republicans say leftover bailout cash was to go toward the deficit.

The President made it clear last week that the two are tied. "The single most important thing we could do right now for deficit reduction is to spark strong economic growth, which means that people who've got jobs are paying taxes," said President Obama. Even as Friday's jobs report saw unemployment drop a hair, economists expect it to hover near ten percent for months.