The Democrats' Perpetual Pivot to Jobs

Virtually identical headlines have been running for nearly two years

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The debt ceiling is yesterday's news; today it's all about jobs. At least, that's what Democrats insist, as they'd prefer to talk about something fresh and new instead of ugly battle of the last few weeks. But the jobs issue isn't really all that new. Jake Tapper complained Tuesday, "For the last two and a half years here as the White House correspondent for ABC News, it feels like every couple of months I am reporting that the White House is announcing that they are pivoting to a jobs agenda, and something else happens. … But here we are again saying it."  Politico's Scott Wong and Glenn Thrush agreed, writing that the jobs agenda is something President Obama "has tried to resurrect at least a half-dozen times in the past two years." Is this true? Pretty much. Behold:

December 3, 2009The New York Times:
Key text: 
After months of focusing on Afghanistan and health care, President Obama turned his attention on Thursday to the high level of joblessness, but offered no promise that he could do much to bring unemployment down quickly even as he comes under pressure from his own party to do more. ...
Mr. Obama said he would entertain "every demonstrably good idea" for creating jobs, but he cautioned that "our resources are limited."
January 8, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor:
Key text:
...Obama acknowledged that the December unemployment numbers (85,000 jobs lost) were a disappointment--"a reminder that the road to recovery is never straight"--and promised to "explore every avenue to accelerate the return to hiring."
The president then turned to his main point: new Recovery Act funding for clean energy manufacturing jobs. 
September 7, 2010, Los Angeles Times:
Key text:
When he rolls out a new plan Wednesday to boost the economy, President Obama will signal that he is making a long-promised pivot to jobs, a priority for both his party and his presidency that hasn't always seemed his top focus.
Obama has faced a slew of distractions in 20 months in office: war, a marathon legislative fight over healthcare and a catastrophic oil spill. All intruded on plans to showcase his role in trying to revive a shaky economy.
January 21, 2011, ABC News:
Key text:
President Obama is making good use of the bully pulpit these days to drive an economic message as he tries to deny the GOP the chance to define the agenda.
Earlier this week it was a WSJ editorial on ditching "dumb" regulation, today it's restructuring his economic advisory board to shift away from focusing on stabilizing the economy to growing jobs.
January 31, 2011, NBC News:
Key text:
The quick jobs pivot: Turning to domestic politics, the White House has quickly pivoted to jobs after the president’s State of the Union -- even if it’s being overshadowed by the situation in Egypt. This week, the Obama administration will be holding several events tied to Obama’s call for innovation. And today, the White House is launching what it calls "Startup America:--an effort to promote entrepreneurship across the country.
April 4, 2011, Fox News:
Key text:
The Obama White House has been struggling to take control of the national discussion in recent weeks, U.S. intervention in the Libyan civil war, rising gas prices, fiscal gridlock on Capitol Hill, economic uncertainty and even the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan distracting from President Obama's long-promised "hard pivot" to jobs.
May 6, 2011, NBC News:
Key text:
Five days after Osama bin Laden's death, we pivot back to the issue that will likely remain the most important one to voters come Nov. 2012: the economy.
And just as with all these previous pivots, if President Obama wants to do more than talk about jobs, he's going to have a hard time, The New York TimesMark Landler and Jeff Zeleny write. A senior aide told them that the president has no "magic beads" to lower the unemployment rate. "And given the polarized climate on Capitol Hill, winning legislative approval of his initiatives, already daunting in most cases, will be that much more challenging," the Times writes. Obama will be taking a bus tour of the Midwest later this month, and then he'll hold town halls after Labor Day to push his proposals and challenge Republicans to offer their own.
Politico reports that Sen. Chuck Schumer will try to bring attention back to a jobs bill he first mentioned in June, which would offer tax cuts, infrastructure funding, immigration reform for high-skill workers, and other stuff. But Congress will have just three months to get any such proposal passed before they have to start arguing about whatever measures are offered by the special commission created by the debt ceiling deal to find $1.5 trillion in spending cuts. Meanwhile, almost three-fourths of Americans think the economy is getting worse.
And that's why the past pivot that might make the White House cringe the most was one of the first:
July 15, 2009, Associated Press:
Key text:
For months, the White House and Obama's economic team have laid the economic crisis at the feet of President George W. Bush. But there comes a point in a presidency when inheritance becomes ownership. Obama made that pivot Tuesday in Michigan, the state suffering the worst unemployment in the nation.
"I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, 'Well, this is Obama's economy,'" the president said in a pointed deviation from his prepared text. "That's fine. Give it to me!"
It was a defiant moment, reminiscent of Bush's own "Bring 'em on!" taunt in 2003 to militants in Iraq.
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