By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — President Obama is expected to outline a more than $400 billion American Jobs Act tonight in a speech to Congress and the American public.

And there’s only one topic on most people’s minds.

“Hopefully that there will be more jobs soon for all the people that are unemployed,” says Tammy Cropelli of Brentwood.

It’s a worry for a lot of people.

“I’m really worried. My sister just graduated college and she’s having a hard time looking for jobs and such, so I’m really nervous, too,” notes Katie Gazdak of the Hill District.

Some, like Carla Gaines Robinson of Oakland, think the President needs to be creative.

“Before we could do manual labor and different things. We have to invent things. All the other countries are inventing things,” she says. “We have to create our own jobs.”

Carlow University political scientist Allyson Lowe says the President has a daunting task.

“He needs to talk to a variety of voters about jobs and about the economy, and he needs to convince them that he’s the leader that they need to follow in order to fix the economy,” Lowe told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

“I think he needs to inspire some confidence and communicate that he actually has a plan,” adds Chris Bonneau, a University of Pittsburgh political scientist.

“His approval ratings [are] as low as they have been — he’s not been able to work with Congress very well — he needs to have a detailed plan.”
Bonneau says the President needs to get specific.

But some worry Congressional Republicans may block everything the President wants, although that does carry a political risk.

“The Republicans are in the lucky position to be able to say no to whatever the President to suggests,” says Lowe. “But it’s up to the electorate to decide if ‘no’ is actually a policy or is ‘no’ just a position for the campaign.”

Because many believe the 2012 presidential election has already begun, what the President says tonight and how he says it could be critical to his re-election, even if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives fails to adopt any of his ideas.

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