Image: President Obama
Larry Downing  /  Reuters
President Barack Obama holds a copy of the "American Jobs Act" he will send up to Congress Monday for passage while standing next to Vice President Joseph Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House, September 12, 2011.
updated 9/12/2011 3:15:35 PM ET 2011-09-12T19:15:35

The Democratic National Committee is launching an ad campaign in politically key states to try and rally the public behind President Barack Obama's new jobs plan and pressure a divided Congress to act.

The television ads show portions of Obama's speech to Congress last week promoting the $447 billion package of tax cuts and new spending. They urge viewers to "Read it. Fight for it. ... Pass the President's Jobs Plan."

The spots were to begin airing Monday and are the first round in an effort that will last several weeks, said DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.

Obama's next act: Selling jobs plan
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"The president has a plan to create jobs and help middle-class Americans get ahead and this effort is intended to communicate that plan to the American people and for the American people to communicate their support for his plan to their representatives in Washington," Woodhouse said.

The DNC push comes as Obama himself is embarking on a high-profile sales job to boost support for his plan as his re-election campaign gets under way with the economy stalled and unemployment stuck at 9.1 percent.

The president was formally sending the jobs bill to Capitol Hill on Monday and holding an event in the Rose Garden to call on lawmakers to swiftly back it. On Tuesday he'll pitch the plan in Ohio, home state of House Speaker John Boehner, and on Wednesday in North Carolina.

Obama also promoted the plan in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams aired Monday on the "Today" show. He said independent economists "are saying ... this buys us insurance against a double-dip recession. And it almost certainly helps the economy grow and will put more people back to work, and that's what the American people want right now."

Story: Obama: Jobs plan is insurance against a ‘recession’

The centerpiece of the plan cuts payroll taxes that pay for Social Security, giving a tax break to workers and businesses. There's also new spending for teachers and school construction, and an extension of jobless benefits, among other elements. Republican lawmakers who control the House seem more open to the tax cuts than the new spending.

The DNC ads don't target any specific lawmakers, or make any reference to the looming 2012 presidential campaign. But they're airing in key markets in some of the most critical swing and early voting states: Denver; Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; Des Moines, Iowa; Las Vegas; Manchester, N.H.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; and Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke, Va.; as well as Washington, D.C.

Video: Obama: We’re not where we need to be (on this page)

The 30-second spots open with footage of Obama exhorting Congress during his speech to a joint session last Thursday, telling lawmakers: "The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here, the people who hired us to work for them, they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months." As dramatic music plays, lettering on the screen urges viewers to read the jobs plan and fight for it. There are two slightly different versions, one with more shots of Obama speaking and the other with a few bullet points detailing the plan, and they will alternate.

At the same time the DNC is rolling out ads to Internet platforms including Facebook, Hulu, and other sites.

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Video: Obama: We’re not where we need to be

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama: We’re not where we need to be

    >>> us begin with president obama 's thoughts on the economy and the gop presidential candidates . nbc's brian williams spoke to the president exclusively. brian , good to have you here.

    >> well, matt, thanks for having me. what an interesting weekend to go to washington to the white house and talk to this president. first of all, we had the terror warning, of course, and, second, all those op-ed pieces warning this president he's going to be a one-term president. started out by asking about his poll numbers. 37% of the people believe in the way he's handling the economy and his overall approval rating of 44%.

    >> one of the things that i learned very early on is thought to worry about polls because if i was worrying about polls i wouldn't be sitting here interviewing with you. as you recall when i was running for president i was down about 30 points around this time in my first run for the presidency. you know, the truth of the matter is the american people have gone through the worst economic crisis since the great depression. and they are understandably impatient and i can say to them, look, all the actions we've taken have been the right actions. if we hadn't taken those actions things would be much worse but the bottom line is unemployment is still at 9%. and there's still a lot of folks hurting out there, and my job as president of the united states is not to worry about my job, my task is to worry about their job and their economic situation.

    >> do you watch any of the republican debate?

    >> you know, i didn't watch my own debates much less somebody else's.

    >> mitt romney , "the president is a nice guy. he doesn't have a clue how to get the country working again." your reaction.

    >> i'm not going to start reacting to republican rhetoric in a presidential campaign . let them decide who it is that will be their standard-bearer. we will have more than ample time to --

    >> what do you make of rick perry , the front-runner, i guess?

    >> well, you know, he's -- he's been the governor of a big state, and, you know, there's no doubt he is a credible candidate as is mr. romney and a whole bunch of other folks.

    >> tea party here to stay.

    >> you know, i think the strains that you're seeing in the tea party are a permanent part of the american political landscape. we've always had a anti- federal government bent in a chunk of our population. that's nothing new. i do think that the extreme position that you hear that says government has no role to play in growing our economy, that the federal government has no function to play in building a strong middle class , absolutely wrong. i reject that view and i think the vast majority of americans reject that view. i think having social security and medicare and medicaid programs that provide a social safety net for people is a vital role for our government. it's not enough for us to just leave that to local charities.

    >> you said to matt lauer february of '09, "if i don't get this done in three years then there's going to be a one-term proposition."

    >> well, it would be -- you know, what we've done is we've been able to stabilize the economy and, you know, that is an enormous accomplishment, but the fact of the matter is that we are not where we need to be. and it is important for us to not relitigate all the arguments of the past but rather to say, right now what are the smartest things we can do to put people back to work, and when you look at what independent economists are saying about the american jobs act, my jobs plan, uniformly what they are saying is this buys us insurance against a double-dip recession, and it almost certainly helps the economy grow and will put more people book to work, and that's what the american people want right now.

    >> interesting day with the president. i went on to ask him when he's going to channel his inner harry truman as members of his base have been asking. and we were just getting started. i also asked him about all the people who voted for the man on the poster that said "hope." that answer was illuminating. we'll have that tonight on "nightly news."

    >> when you talk to him about the idea it could be a one-term presidency and he said, well, stabilizing it was an enormous accomplishment, do you think voters will see it that way.

    >> the voters will see a different president as a candidate in terms of energy and trying to defeat the opponent. whether that's going to make any difference to them on the economy, it still goes back to your question, can he move it off the dime and if not, voters have a funny way of enforcing their will.

    >> he's on the road a lot this week. he'll be in ohio, north carolina . supporting this jobs plan. how is he trailing the debate on that versus the republicans?

    >> i asked him, is this just a big jobs program, a big put people to work dig into the soil and make roads? he says, no, it has a lot of different facet, and he's going to, while not quite painting it as a do nothing congress he'll be running against congress as he goes out into all these congressional districts .

    >> 80% of people would like to get rid of that particular --

    >> 82%, i think.

    >> brian , good to have you with us.

    >> thanks very much.

    >> you can see more of brian 's interview with president obama , that's tonight on "nbc nightly


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