Image: Barack Obama
Pablo Martinez Monsivais  /  AP
President Barack Obama smiles during his news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Oct., 6, 2011.
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updated 10/7/2011 9:59:13 AM ET 2011-10-07T13:59:13

Are President Barack Obama's ideas for job creation really bipartisan as he claims? Not when the means for paying for them are put in the equation.

The president dodged various facts and and left some evidence in the dust in his latest challenge to Republicans to get behind his jobs program or offer a real alternative.

A look at some of the claims in his fast-paced news conference and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: "If it turns out that there are Republicans who are opposed to this bill, they need to explain to me, but more importantly to their constituencies and the American people, why they're opposed, and what would they do."

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THE FACTS: While Republicans might not be campaigning on their opposition to Obama's plan, they've hardly kept their objections a secret.

In a memorandum to House Republicans Sept. 16, House Speaker John Boehner and members of the GOP leadership said they could find common ground with Obama on the extension of certain business tax breaks, waiving a payment withholding provision for federal contractors, incentives for hiring veterans, and job training measures in connection with unemployment insurance.

They objected to new spending on public works programs, suggesting instead that Congress and the president work out those priorities in a highway spending bill. And they raised concerns about Obama's payroll tax cuts for workers and small businesses, arguing that the benefits of a one-year tax cut would be short-lived. The memo also pointed out that reducing payroll taxes, which pay for Social Security, temporarily forces Social Security to tap the government's general fund. And it opposed additional spending to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and other public workers.

Campaign week in review

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OBAMA: "Every idea that we've put forward are ones that traditionally have been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike."

THE FACTS: Obama proposes to pay for his jobs bill by raising taxes, something traditionally opposed by Republicans and, in the form Obama proposed it, even some Democrats. Senate Democrats were so allergic to Obama's approach, which relied largely on limiting deductions that can be taken by individuals making over $200,000 a year and couples making more than $250,000, that they're eliminating it and replacing it with a new tax on millionaires.

In claiming bipartisan support for the components of his proposal, the president appears to be referring just to what the plan would do, not how it's paid for, but that's a crucial distinction he doesn't make.

Some of tax-cutting proposals offered by Obama have received significant Republican support in the past. But some of the new spending he proposes has received only nominal Republican backing. Evidence of bipartisanship provided by the White House includes legislation last year that provided $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs. It won the support of only two Republican senators — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine and among the most moderate Republicans in Congress. Another example cited by the White House was his proposal last year to offer tax breaks to businesses that hire new workers — it passed the House 217-201 with six Republican votes.

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OBAMA: "The answer we're getting right now is: Well, we're going to roll back all these Obama regulations... Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy?"

Video: Obama makes his case for the economy (on this page)

THE FACTS: Well, yes, some think it will. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last month submitted a jobs proposal to Obama that included a call to ease regulations on businesses. It specifically called for streamlining environmental reviews on major construction projects and to delay the issuance of some potentially burdensome regulations until the economy and employment have improved. In the letter, Chamber President Thomas Donohue also called on Congress to pass legislation that would require congressional approval of major regulations. The chamber did not indicate how many jobs such regulatory changes could create, but it said: "Immediate regulatory relief is required in order to begin moving $1 trillion-$2 trillion in accumulated private capital off of the sidelines and into business expansion."

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OBAMA: "We can either keep taxes exactly as they are for millionaires and billionaires, with loopholes that lead them to have lower tax rates, in some cases, than plumbers and teachers, or we can put teachers and construction workers and veterans back on the job."

THE FACTS: True, "in some cases" wealthy people can exploit loopholes to make their tax rate lower than for people of middle or low income. In recent rhetoric, Obama had suggested it was commonplace for rich people to pay lower rates than others, a claim not supported by IRS statistics. But on Thursday, Obama accurately stated that it only happens sometimes.

In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the IRS. Yet that was less than 1 percent of returns with incomes above $1 million. On average, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes; those making $100,000 to $125,000 paid 9.9 percent; those making $50,000 to $60,000 paid 6.3 percent. The White House argues that when payroll taxes — paid only on the first $106,800 of wages — are factored in, more middle class workers wind up with a higher tax rate than millionaires.

Video: Obama makes aggressive plea for jobs bill (on this page)

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OBAMA: "China has been very aggressive in gaming the trading system to its advantage and to the disadvantage of other countries, particularly the United States. .... And currency manipulation is one example of it, or at least intervening in the currency markets in ways that have led their currency to be valued lower than the market would normally dictate. And that makes their exports cheaper and that makes our exports to them more expensive."

THE FACTS: While Obama complained about China's efforts to keeps its currency undervalued to gain trade advantages, his administration has repeatedly refused to brand China as a currency manipulator in a report that the Treasury Department is required to send to Congress twice a year.

Such a designation would trigger negotiations between the two countries and could ultimately lead to U.S. trade sanctions against China.

The administration has been reluctant to brand China a currency manipulator, as have past administrations, because the United States depends on China to buy U.S. Treasury securities to help finance America's budget deficits. China owns $1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, making it the largest foreign holder of Treasury debt.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama talks unemployment, Wall Street protests

  1. Transcript of: Obama talks unemployment, Wall Street protests

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn to other news, chiefly the US economy . President Obama held a news conference this morning at the White House . A lot of the questioning focused on unemployment and the very public show of anger building around the country. Our chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd , was there.

    Group of Protesters: Where are the jobs? Where are the jobs?

    CHUCK TODD reporting: With growing disillusionment toward Wall Street and Washington as the backdrop, President Obama tried to show some empathy.

    President BARACK OBAMA: I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.

    TODD: But he also defended the decisions he made to save the financial industry .

    Pres. OBAMA: I used up a lot of political capital, and I've got the dings and bruises to prove it, in order to make sure that we prevented a financial meltdown and that banks stayed afloat.

    TODD: And he responded to a question about why no one on Wall Street has gone to jail.

    Pres. OBAMA: A lot of that stuff wasn't necessarily illegal. It was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless.

    TODD: The goal for this press conference was to sell his $450 billion jobs plan, but the president spent much of his time explaining why he can't get it passed.

    Pres. OBAMA: So there may be some skepticism that I personally can persuade Republicans to take actions in the interest of the American people . But that's exactly why I need the American people to try to put some pressure on them.

    TODD: And he blamed Congress for the country's skepticism about Washington .

    Pres. OBAMA: Until they see Congress actually putting country ahead of party politics and partisanship, they're going to be skeptical, and doesn't matter how many times I preach to them.

    TODD: Minutes before the president entered the East Room , House Speaker John Boehner asked his own question.

    Representative JOHN BOEHNER: Well, Mr. President, why have you given up on the country and decided to campaign full time instead of doing what the American people sent us all here to do?

    TODD: While he didn't address the question directly, the president denied he was trying to pull a Harry Truman .

    Pres. OBAMA: If Congress does something, then I can't run against a do-nothing Congress . If Congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them. I think the American people will run them out of town.

    TODD: The White House is pulling out all the stops to try to fix their economic brand these days, even using the Clinton card tomorrow. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton guest-hosts the president's jobs council meeting, Brian .

    WILLIAMS: All right, Chuck Todd at the White House tonight. Chuck ,

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