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Obama Throws Out Fightin' Words, Deals With Controversy Backlash

Catherine Green |
October 29, 2011 | 2:15 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

President Barack Obama. (Mark Nozell/Creative Commons)
President Barack Obama. (Mark Nozell/Creative Commons)
President Obama used his weekly address Saturday as an opportunity for critique of Republicans in Congress for their slow progress on the jobs issue. Politico pointed out that the president's remarks came just after the House voted in favor of one of his proposals.

Repealing a 3-percent withholding tax on contractors, Politico reported, gives congressional Republicans something to point to when accused of refusing to work across the aisle. For the most part, though, they've rejected Obama's proposals, prompting the president to say they are "not getting the message" on jobs.

“Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress aren’t paying attention,” Obama said Saturday. “Over and over, they have refused to even debate the same kind of jobs proposals that Republicans have supported in the past — proposals that today are supported, not just by Democrats, but by independents and Republicans all across America.”

In defense of his recent executive orders, the president said, "These steps will make a difference. But they won't take the place of the bold action we need from Congress to get this economy moving again."

But if Fox News is indicative of general right-wing sentiment, it's unlikely his words will yield much progress. The conservative outlet offered a quick round-up of controversies on Obama's plate, namely Fast and Furious and the Solyndra debacle.

The administration has made significant moves to address both conflicts. Attorney General Eric Holder will face the House Judiciary Committee in December regarding his involvement in the failed gun trafficking program Fast and Furious. The White House announced Friday a review of the Energy Department's loaning practices in light of the $528 million granted to doomed solar company Solyndra.

According to the Fox News website, these developments might fall short.

The Obama administration is fighting hard to quell the controversies.

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said Friday that the new independent review will evaluate the condition of other loan guarantees made by the Energy Department and make recommendations to the administration about how to improve the process.

“The president is committed to investing in clean energy because he understands that the jobs developing and manufacturing these technologies will either be created here or in other countries,” he said. “And while we continue to take steps to make sure the United States remains competitive in the 21st century energy economy, we must also ensure that we are strong stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Holder, meanwhile, has insisted that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious -prior to the public outcry over the operation that was ignited by the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December. Guns linked to Fast and Furious were found at Terry’s crime scene.

Holder testified in May in front of the House Judiciary Committee that he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

But Republican lawmakers are skeptical of his testimony after obtaining five memos addressed to Holder in July and August 2010, citing the operation by name.

Now eight members of Congress -- Reps. Joe Walsh of Illinois, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, John Mica of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Blake Farenthold of Texas, Gus Bilrakis of Florida, Francisco Canseco of Texas -- have called for Holder to step down.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R- S.C., a member of Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that it’s not his role to demand Holder’s resignation.

“President Obama hired him. President Obama can decide whether or not he’s doing the job,” he said. “I suspect when it becomes more of a political liability, they’ll have that conversation. My interest is not in career advice, I want to get answers for the American people on who knew what when.”

As both sides prepare for the upcoming campaign year, it's unsurprising that such virulent back-and-forth has already begun to dominate the political sphere. Still unclear, though, is which side's criticism will win over the American people.

See President Obama's weekly address, including a rallying for support from the public to sway congressional Republicans, below.



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