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Obama looking to reconnect with voters
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 26 - 01 - 2010

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama heads into his State of the Union speech on Wednesday looking to reconnect with voters frustrated by the sour US economy. Priority No. 1 for Obama in his first such annual address is laying out a convincing case that his policies will generate jobs.
"Here's what we're going to talk about. We're going to talk about how we can first of all, focus on job creation and growth," Obama told ABC News.
His heightened focus on jobs is complicated by the fact that he is still grappling with his top domestic priority, a US healthcare overhaul that took up most of last year.
Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are debating how to proceed on a healthcare plan that has fallen out of favor with Americans worried about its cost and size.
The need to switch to an all-out focus on jobs is paramount. Democrats fear a 10 per cent jobless rate and dissatisfaction with Washington will lead to big losses in November congressional elections and damage their majority in the US Congress.
Obama's healthcare plan was left hanging in the balance when a political earthquake struck traditionally liberal Massachusetts last week and Republican Scott Brown was elected a US senator, denying Democrats a 6 -vote supermajority that let them override Republican procedural blocking tactics.
Obama has offered mixed signals on how to proceed on healthcare -- first saying it was time to focus on those core elements that can be passed by the US Congress and then suggesting he would not give up on a broad overhaul.
"I am not going to walk away just because it is hard," he said last week.
Political analysts say the public's patience is stretched so thin at this point that it is time for Obama and his Democrats to get what they can on healthcare and move on.
"Right now they need to get something done with healthcare, anything, and move the debate on to other things," said Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Missouri.


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