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Obama to address new economic ideas next Wednesday
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday he would outline new measures next week to boost the U.S. economy, but analysts were skeptical he would be able to deliver a big enough package to lift growth significantly.
Obama made his remarks after August data showed that jobs -- the central issue in November congressional elections -- were being created too slowly.
The White House is under pressure to show tangible results in lifting growth and hiring before the November 2 election, when Obama's Democrats face punishment from voters anxious about near double-digit unemployment.
"I will be addressing a broader package of ideas next week," Obama told reporters in the White House Rose Garden.
"We are confident that we are moving in the right direction. But we want to keep this recovery moving stronger and accelerate the job growth that is needed so desperately all across the country."
The White House has ruled out a second stimulus program along the lines of the $814 billion emergency spending package Obama signed into law in 2009, limiting the scale of any new initiatives and the likely impact on U.S. growth.
Polls show voters are worried by the record U.S. budget deficit and Obama's economic team will take care to design measures that do not add significantly to the funding gap.
They will also likely lean toward measures that ought to be popular with Republican lawmakers, like tax cuts, in order to win the support Obama's Democrats will need to get any new law through Congress.
With little time left before the November vote and the risk Democrats could lose control of Congress, analysts saw little chance Obama could get backing for major measures.
"This is political positioning going into the elections. It is not the stuff of economic policy-making," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who advised Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain during the 2008 campaign.
'TARGETED PROPOSALS' ON WEDNESDAY
The White House said Obama would "discuss some targeted proposals" during a visit to Cleveland on Wednesday, specifically noting his long-standing promise to extend tax cuts for American families earning less than $250,000 a year, and investing in parts of the economy likely to grow fastest.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer also spelled out that Obama would deliver his message in the same city where the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, urged the president to fire his economic team.
"The President will lay out the choice between his ideas and the failed policies and failed philosophy that led us into this mess," Pfeiffer said in a blog post.
Obama aides said the speech in Cleveland would be broad in outlining ideas he believes will help stimulate the economy.
On Monday, the president highlighted a number of possible options including extending middle-class tax cuts, investing in clean energy, spending more on infrastructure and delivering more tax cuts to businesses to encourage hiring.
"The politics make it really difficult to do what should be done, and therefore trying to draw a balance between getting something and being politically realistic is problematic," said Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.
The White House declined to give more specifics about the measures under consideration and a spokeswoman said no final decisions had been made.
"We need to take further steps to create jobs and keep the economy growing, including extending tax cuts for the middle class and investing in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest," Obama said.
Obama will travel to Milwaukee on Monday, the Labor Day holiday. He will also hold a White House news conference next Friday.
"I'm going to have a press conference next week where, after you guys are able to hear where we are at, we'll be able to answer some specific questions," he said.
The August employment report earlier showed a bigger-than- expected rise of 67,000 in private payrolls, while unemployment inched up a tenth of a percentage point to 9.6 percent.
Overall, U.S. nonfarm payrolls fell 54,000 as temporary jobs to conduct the decennial census dropped by 114,000.
"Jobs are being created. They're just not being created as fast as they need to, given the big hole that we experienced," Obama said.
"We're going to have to continue to work with Republicans and Democrats to come up with ideas that can further accelerate that job growth. I'm confident that we can do that."
(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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