President Obama is getting out of Washington Friday to highlight a tiny bit of good news on a day with a whole lot of bad, in an attempt to show that his economic plan is starting to have an impact.
Mr. Obama will attend a graduation ceremony in Columbus, Ohio, for 25 police recruits who were laid off one month ago and were rehired using money from the $787 billion stimulus bill.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday it is “a good-news story” in the midst of “some very tough economic figures.”
The Labor Department released jobs numbers Friday morning showing that employers cut 651,000 jobs, nudging the unemployment rate past 8 percent, the highest since 1983.
The bad news follows job losses of 655,000 in January and 681,000 in December. Analysts expect the bloodletting to continue through at least the middle of this year.
Mr. Obama has promised that the stimulus will save or create 3.5 million jobs by 2010.
In Ohio, the White House says the stimulus, which has been pilloried by many conservatives for spending too much money on things that are not stimulative, will “support or create” 133,000 jobs in Ohio.
Ohio is getting $61 million for “for law enforcement and criminal and juvenile justice activities,” and the city of Columbus is getting $4 million of that.
Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman received notice early in January that he would have to cut $13 million from the city’s budget. The new police recruit class, which entered the police academy in July, were given pink slips on Jan. 27.
The cadets had 30 days pay after the date of their release, and a few days before that money ran out, Mr. Coleman told the cadets the stimulus money would allow them to graduate.
Attorney General Eric Holder is traveling with Mr. Obama today. The president returns to Washington by mid-afternoon.
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