By Sam Youngman - 09/06/11 08:29 PM EDT
White House officials said Tuesday that President Obama's approval ratings are dropping because Americans are furious with Washington in general.
But even as White House press secretary Jay Carney blasted political obstruction and game-playing, he declined to disavow comments Teamsters President James Hoffa made at a rally Monday, calling Tea Party members "sons of bitches."
Thursday's jobs speech has reached epic expectations. Carney said Obama will be unveiling new proposals that will have a "direct and immediate" impact on the economy, creating jobs right away.
House Republican leaders sent a letter to Obama on Tuesday, outlining areas where they think they can work with the president to create jobs. In the letter, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suggested a meeting or consultation with Obama.
Carney would not rule out a meeting, but indicated that Obama had already enjoyed enough consultation before his speech.
The White House appeared ready to rebound from last week's embarrassment, when Boehner denied Obama's request to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday instead of Thursday.
Carney focused the daily briefing almost entirely on jobs and congressional inaction, the two early hallmarks of the Obama 2012 campaign.
Obama's high-30s approval ratings, Carney said, are a reflection of "a high reservoir of skepticism toward Washington in general."
"I think that everybody associated with Washington is being viewed quite dimly right now," Carney said.
To that end, Carney continued the White House assault on House Republicans, whom Obama and his allies are blaming for gridlock that "wasn't just frustrating; it was harmful."
"For no other reason than ideological purity, Washington almost brought the global economy to its knees this summer," Carney said.