President Barack Obama, defending his economic stimulus plan on its first anniversary, is dispatching his Cabinet across the country to try to calm an anxious public as Democrats head into potentially devastating congressional elections in November.
A weeklong push to highlight the stimulus program's first year was started with a Tuesday trip by Vice President Joe Biden to hard-hit Michigan, where he checked out a jobs training program at Delta College and was touring a solar factory, both of which received stimulus cash.
"It's gonna take us a while to get us out of this ditch, but it's working. It's working," Biden said.
Obama's fellow Democrats were to tout programs putting people back to work under the $787 billion spending bill. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was touring a medical center in Atlanta; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was promoting stimulus projects in Virginia and Texas.
In all, senior administration officials are scheduled to visit 35 communities before Friday to counter Republican claims the massive deficit-spending program has failed. Obama plans to surround himself at the White House on Wednesday with people who have jobs because of the stimulus plan, then travel to Colorado and Nevada.
Obama's political team believes the projects across the country could help Democrats stave off emboldened Republicans and their attempts to reclaim majorities in Congress. Although voters have soured on the stimulus spending, individual components have fans across party lines.
The tax cuts Democrats included in their bill have the backing of 70 percent of the public, according to a CNN poll last month. Another 80 percent support the infrastructure investments, such as the water projects Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson plans to tout in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
Even so, 56 percent of the public opposes the broad plan, according to the CNN poll.