Gingrich criticizes Obama during Chicago visit

September 4, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The former House Speaker and his wife Callista were at the Taste of Polonia on Chicago's Northwest Side on Sunday. They were promoting their new documentary "Nine Days that Changed the World," which is about Pope John Paul II and his nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in 1979.

But as the well-known conservative mingled with Chicago's Polish Community, he was also talking jobs and criticizing President Barack Obama, who is spending his holiday weekend at Camp David working on his jobs speech which he will present to a joint session of Congress this week.

"This is a depression, not a recession, and there's a grave danger it's gonna get worse before it gets better and I think that he ought to have a speech that recognizes how serious this problem is," Gingrich said.

The president's speech comes shortly after the Department of Labor reported that the economy added no jobs in August with unemployment lodged at 9.1 percent. As a result, it will be a jobless Labor Day holiday for millions of Americans.

"There's a lot of talk in Washington these days about creating jobs. But it doesn't help when those same folks turn around and risk losing hundreds of thousands of jobs just because of political gamesmanship," Obama said.

    The president's plan is based on:
  • Tax relief, including tax credits for companies that hire new workers.
  • Infrastructure investment, such as building projects for transportation, schools and clean energy.
  • Targeted assistance for the long-term unemployed, those out of a job six months or longer.

But Republicans like Gingrich say Obama's plan won't make businesses hire.

"We need a very dramatic change in policy. We need to recognize that small businesses create jobs, that you can't be for class warfare and expect people to get paychecks and that the president's policies have put more people on food stamps than any president in history," Gingrich said. "I wish that he would fundamentally rethink the policies that are failing so badly. I have no reason to believe he will and that's unfortunate. I suspect he'll come up with a collection of gimmicks, none of which will matter much."

The White House says the president will put forward a number of proposals that have historically enjoyed bipartisan support and will, without question, if enacted, positively affect growth and job creation. The White House also says the president feels that sense of urgency and he is looking forward to Congress returning from its recess.

ABC7 will carry the president's speech live at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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