Republicans Expect Obama to Be ‘Pivoter in Chief’

Obama’s likely focus on job creation in his State of the Union address prompts GOP criticism.

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Job offerings in a local newspaper.
Job offerings in a local newspaper.

Anticipating President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, Republicans are making fun of his expected pivot to the issue of creating jobs.

A Republican National Committee spokesman derided Obama as "Pivoter in Chief," and said, "Obama has literally been 'pivoting' back to the economy for the last five years"—with disappointing results such as an unemployment rate just below 8 percent.

A spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said, "You have read headlines over and over about a 'pivot' to jobs. In fact, you've heard it for the entirety of the Obama administration (sadly, along with headlines about chronic unemployment)."

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In the past week, Obama advisers have said the president would emphasize job creation in his address. This has prompted a number of news stories on an expected pivot to the economy after weeks in which Obama emphasized the issues of gun control, immigration, and the budget.

Job offerings in a local newspaper.
Job offerings in a local newspaper.

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, "There's no pivot here. The president's principal preoccupation since he ran for this office beginning in 2007 has been what we need to do to make our economy work for the middle class."

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Carney added: "What remains his Number One priority is what it has been since he took office, which is to get this economy growing, get it creating jobs."

What's likely to happen is that Obama will repackage some of his earlier initiatives—such as proposals to spend more federal money on infrastructure and education—as job-creation measures, in addition to announcing a few new initiatives. White House officials have refused to elaborate on those ideas, preferring to have the president make news by announcing them.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.