Obama Says Jobs Are His Main Priority

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Just days before Thanksgiving, President Obama is trying to convince Americans his main priority is job creation.

Obama made that point in a cabinet meeting Monday where he ignored a reporters question about Afghanistan and instead, spoke only about the economy.

With unemployment at 10.2 percent, the president is trying to assure Americans that he "gets it."

However, the latest numbers show the economic recovery is not as strong as was first thought.  The economy grew at 2.8 percent in the third quarter, according to the latest government revision.  That number is weaker that the first estimate of 3.5 percent.

The government frequently revises its first estimates on economic growth.  Some analysts expect the economy to pick up around the end of the year,

At his cabinet meeting, his call for action was clear.

"We cannot sit back and be satisfied," Obama said. "Given the extraordinary high unemployment levels that we've seen. We've only taken the first step in curing our economy and making sure that it is moving on the right track. And I will not rest until businesses are investing again and businesses are hiring again and people have work again."

But just as the president contemplates spending more on job stimulus, he must address massive national debt.

Interest payments alone could reach $750 billion in 10 years just as the first baby boomers turn 65 and demand Social Security.

"The federal government is going to be under a lot of pressure to find the cash to make these promised benefits to baby boomers and there are only so many places you can go," the Concord Coalition's Robert Bixby explained.

On top of the deficit, the struggling economy and job losses, the president is also pushing for healthcare reform and facing a big decision on Afghanistan.

"The stakes are incredibly high for Obama right now," Concept Capital's Anne Mathias said. "He is under so much pressure to show a major legislative which is health care reform. And at the same time he has to address concerns that he hasn't been doing enough to focus on the underlying problems in the economy.

The president told his cabinet officers that this country's dynamism and entrepreneurship can help us bridge to a more prosperous future.

With unemployment at a 26-year-high, many Americans hope he's right.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

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