Capping a campaign trip for his economic plan and his re-election, President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to keep pressure on Congress to consider his nearly $450 billion jobs bill, saying it had been two weeks since he sent the bill to Capitol Hill "and now I want it back."
"I want it back, passed, so I can sign this bill and start putting people back to work," Obama said from Abraham Lincoln High School, a site chosen to emphasize the education elements of his bill.
"Pass this jobs bill, and right here in Colorado, thousands of construction workers will have a job," he said.
The president went on, "There's folks here in Colorado who are living paycheck to paycheck, week to week. They need action. They need it now."
The president tailored his comments to his audience, saying the school's science labs were built decades ago and schools around the country need updated facilities. Yet his broader speech was nearly identical to ones he has given around the country.
"I have people in my family that have been on unemployment for over a year," said Raquel Perea of Denver. "We need jobs. It's hard living paycheck to paycheck and as Americans we are getting tired and we need help. We need to see the future. We need to see progress."
There has been no clear sign that his campaign for his bill is winning over Republicans in Congress whose support he needs.
Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, told reporters the White House hopes members of Congress are hearing from their constituents about the need to act. Obama made that pitch himself to the audience of several thousand people, saying, "Every one of you can help make it happen by sending a message to Congress, a simple message: `Pass this jobs bill.'"
Obama's bill would spend about $25 billion to modernize public schools. The White House said Colorado's share could support up to 3,400 jobs.
Overall, his jobs plan is a mix of payroll tax cuts and spending that he says could be paid for by requiring wealthier individuals, families and companies to pay more.
At least eight people fainted while waiting in line in the hot sun to attend Obama's Denver speech.
Several people at the speech all agreed we need jobs but said this bill is not going to be enough.
"I think we need more," said Thomas Townsond. "I really do think we need more. We are heading in the right direction but we still need more."
The president's three-day trip out West included seven fundraisers in Washington state and California in advance of an important fundraising deadline.
With the economy stuck and unemployment high as the 2012 campaign heats up, Obama has been reminding supporters that he never told them governing would be easy.
His own chief political adviser, David Axelrod, underscored that reality Tuesday, when he cast the president's re-election bid as "a titanic struggle."
With the tough political landscape in mind, Obama has used his West Coast swing to get in some shots at the GOP presidential field.
"I urge all of you to watch some of these Republican debates. It's a different vision about who we are, who we stand for," Obama said at a Hollywood fundraiser on Monday.
Republicans have panned Obama's West Coast swing, saying he has been more interested in saving his own job than creating new jobs for Americans. And Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said Obama was "treating the West Coast as an ATM for his campaign coffers as he makes his way toward the first billion-dollar campaign."
Obama was flying back to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night.
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