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Obama agenda: Going big

The Boston Globe called Obama’s speech “sweeping,” “audacious in scope,” and “part policy explanation and part political challenge.” And there’s this: “[I]n a recognition of the ascendant GOP in Congress, Obama loaded the plan with about $250 billion in tax cuts, in essence challenging Republicans to support him on policies many had previously exhorted.”

But: “The president repeatedly stated that the cost of the plan would be offset, but he provided few details on how he would accomplish that last night, other than asking the 12-member congressional supercommittee charged with reducing the growth of the federal debt by $1.5 trillion to increase its target by at least $447 billion.” More: “The decision to separate the introduction of the jobs plan from the deficit plan allowed Democrats to rally almost unanimously around the jobs bid, something they likely would not do if it included cuts to entitlement programs.”

The Washington Post's Balz says that Obama spoke with a renewed sense of urgency — and with more pointed rhetoric than he often projects from such a weighty podium.

The New York Times: “Though Mr. Obama’s proposals — including an expansion of a cut in payroll taxes and new spending on public works — were widely expected, the package was substantially larger than predicted, and much of the money would flow into the economic bloodstream in 2012. The pace would be similar to that of the $787 billion stimulus package passed in 2009, which was spread over more than two years. Analysts said that, if passed, the package would likely lift growth somewhat.”

The Boston Globe’s Johnson on last night’s speech and the GOP challenge facing Obama: “In word and deed, though, the rival Republican Party has made it clear it is willing to stand pat, even if the president and the Democrats aren’t. The GOP underscored its hostility with the simple act of staying seated last night as Democrats stood across the aisle to applaud many of the president’s ideas. There were few moments of unity even as the country’s leader offered his ideas for leading the nation out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Roll Call: “Throughout the speech, the president avoided the lofty rhetoric that has been a hallmark of his oratory, opting for a more blunt tone.”

The Hill points out: “More than half of the new jobs package consists of tax cuts designed to encourage small-business growth and hiring.”

Politico’s Thrush: “The problem for Obama - even the fiery, focused Obama who addressed a joint session of Congress Thursday - is that his political fate in 2012 is tied to the unforgiving, largely uncontrollable metrics of economic misery. And none of his potential GOP opponents will be held accountable if Obama’s $447 billion proposal fails to stem the economy’s ominous slide, while all of them will arguably profit if he fails.”

“White House staffers say the only reason they chose the University of Richmond for President Barack Obama’s follow-up appearance today to his jobs speech is because it’s located 110 short miles from Washington — not to poke House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Obama’s least favorite foil,” Politico writes. “Yet no one in the West Wing is unhappy to see the presidential bully pulpit plop squarely in the Virginia Republican’s backyard. In their opinion, Cantor, who has emerged as the most powerful conservative spokesman in the GOP caucus, has made it his

Paul Krugman liked Obama's speech. "The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action."

So did David Brooks. “Thursday night the president gave one of the most forceful and compelling domestic policy speeches of his presidency. His proposals were drawn from the middle of the ideological spectrum and were selected to appeal to people who don’t put a lot of faith in government spending.”

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page did not. "We'd like to support a plan to spur the economy, which is certainly struggling. Had Mr. Obama proposed a permanent cut in tax rates, or a major tax reform, or a moratorium on all new regulations for three years, he'd have our support."