By Sam Youngman - 10/13/11 05:39 PM EDT
President Obama said Thursday he is willing to negotiate with Republicans over a plan to create jobs, but he said he will not engage in superficial talks that "create a lot of theater."
Obama, appearing with the South Korean president at a press conference before Thursday night's state dinner, said that after he challenged reporters to discover what the GOP's plan for short-term job creation, he has not heard of one yet.
Republicans have said that Obama is using his jobs proposal as a reelection strategy and that their economic bills to create jobs will be a product of bipartisan negotiations.
Senate Republicans are planning to roll out a specific jobs plan devised by Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Rand Paul (Ky.) and John McCain (Ariz.).
"We have a plan, and we'll have most, if not all, of the Republican senators behind it," McCain said earlier Thursday.
Obama's $447 billion jobs package was defeated this week as two Democratic senators joined every Republican senator in voting against the bill. The president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are expected to begin introducing individual components of the bill.
The president said that at every turn in his administration, he has shown a willingness to work with Republicans, citing the passage of three trade agreements as proof.
"What we haven't seen is a similar willingness on their part to try to get something done," Obama said.
Obama warned that "we're not going to wait around" for Republicans to join him in pursuing jobs legislation.
If, however, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner get on board with a way to improve infrastructure or extend the employee pay roll tax cut, "I'll be right there."
Obama said the trade pacts prove that he is willing to work with Republicans when "they are willing to put politics behind the interests of the American people."