Nightly News   |  September 06, 2011

Despite low approval rate, president focuses on jobs plan

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday that President Obama understands that most Americans are fed up with Washington, but he's concentrating on his jobs plan and not the polls. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>> where with the stakes this gets interesting.

>>> with all these numbers as a backdrop, the stakes are rising for this president's primetime speech on jobs thursday night. kristen welker is at the white house for us tonight. kristen , good evening.

>> reporter: good evening to be with you brian. white house officials tried to brush aside the poll numbers and keep the focus on the president's speech. on the cusp of delivering what the president hopes will be a defining speech on jobs, his lowest approval ratings to date, according to the latest nbc news " wall street journal " poll, 59% now disapprove his his handling of the economy. today, white house press secretary , jay carney , said the president understands that most americans are fed up with washington , but he's concentrating on his joobs' plan not the polls.

>> what he is focused on is doing what the american people respect demanding that washington do. which is listen to them and not spend a lot of time trying to score political points and winning ideological battles.

>> reporter: speaking in detroit on labor day the president a glimpse of his plan saying it would include investing in flukt and extending payroll tax cuts.

>> there's work to be done and workers ready to do it. labor is on board. business is on board. we just need congress to get on board! let's put america back to work.

>> reporter: with congress back in session today, some members of the leadership were already drawing battlelines.

>> we've tried president obama 's approach. it's failed. it's time for something new.

>> reporter: but the house republican leadership sent a letter to the president asking him to meet with congressional leaders to discuss areas of agreement before his speech. we should not approach this, they wrote, as an all or nothing situation. but the nbc news " wall street journal " poll shows the jooisht of americans have lost faith in washington 's ability to jump start the economy, mark ize mark eisenberg explains why he's skeptical.

>> i've heard it before. people have to make it happen. not talk about it, not say it's going to happen, but make it happen.

>> reporter: as for that republican invitation to the president, white house officials say they haven't scheduled anything at this point in time and also point to the fact that the president has already discussed jobs and debt reduction multiple times with republican leadership in the past, brian?

>> all right, kristen welker at the white house . notably, no gop response after the president's speech. that will be interesting.