COMMENTS: Moving on from Afghanistan to the Jobs Summit

President Barack Obama continued to dominate the week's news agenda as he switched from foreign policy to the domestic economy. Both CBS and ABC led their newscasts with the Story of the Day from the White House where the President convened a panel of business executives, labor leaders and academic economists for a so-called Jobs Summit. ABC had Charles Gibson in Washington DC to anchor its newscast. NBC decided to lead with Obama's other domestic priority, the healthcare reform debate in the Senate.

ABC's Jake Tapper called continuing unemployment "the single most confounding issue on the President's domestic agenda." NBC's Chuck Todd compared jobs with the war in Afghanistan and concluded that they are "easily more politically potent." The summit mulled more deficit spending to provide fiscal stimulus, including tax breaks for businesses and subsidies for energy-efficient projects. ABC's Tapper was just obsequious in his selection of a soundbite from an executive lobbying for lower corporate taxes: it happened to be from Walt Disney's Bob Iger, Tapper's own boss.

On CBS, Chip Reid balanced the White House gabfest with reaction from Obama's critics: union activists protested for hundreds of billions more in infrastructure spending; Republicans called the summit "little more than a political stunt" citing the 3.5m layoffs that have occurred since Obama took office.

CBS had Dean Reynolds follow up on the 2.5m jobs that still need to be filled nationwide. He found that many remain open because of a lack of job training. CBS' Reid picked up on one solution being floated at the Jobs Summit: public schools should stay open at night to train adults in new technologies. On ABC, Chris Bury checked into federal spending from this spring's $727bn stimulus. He found jobs for property rehabilitation in Philadelphia, for police in St Louis, for teachers in Virginia--"safer streets, stronger schools, better housing."


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