The pressure is on President Obama to do something about the high unemployment rate. He is well aware victory in 2012 depends on how many Americans are working.
"Our economy has to grow faster. We have to create more jobs and do it faster," the president told veterans at the American Legion convention in Minneapolis.
The 10,000 unemployed who lined up at a jobs fair in Los Angeles were a testimony to how troubled the job market remains.
"It is bad! Really, really, really bad right now," one person exclaimed.
Next Thursday, the president plans to outline a new strategy before a rare joint session of Congress designed to get Americans back to work. He is expected to blame GOP House lawmakers for hindering that goal.
"We've got to break the gridlock in Washington that's been preventing us from taking the action we need to get this country moving," Obama said.
The president has been getting hammered regularly over the jobs issue by Republican presidential hopefuls who want his job.
"There is no more urgent priority at this point in our nation's history than creating jobs," Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said.
"The engine of economic growth is the business sector," said Tea Party favorite Herman Cain.
Obama's jobs plan reportedly consists of three main components:
- Tax relief, including a $33 billion tax credit for companies that hire new workers.
- Infrastructure investment -- a special government bank and funding for building projects like transportation.
- And so called targeted assistance for the long-term unemployed.
The president had hoped to deliver his address to Congress next Wednesday, the same night as the Republican debate.
But House Speaker John Boehner rejected the president's request, saying Thursday would be a better option. Obama relented.
"The president is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy so he welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Sept. 8, and challenge our nation's leaders to start focusing 100 percent of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
Now the president's speech will have to face off against the NFL season opener on Thursday night.