By Sam Youngman - 12/03/09 07:18 PM EST
President Barack Obama challenged participants in his White House jobs
summit to bring their "A-game" Thursday, telling them he wants to hear
detailed plans for how he and businesses can create jobs.
Obama told the group, consisting of businesses owners, labor leaders and academics, that even though he and his administration are "creating the conditions for economic growth, ultimately, true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector."
"I don't want to just brainstorm at 30,000 feet," Obama said.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have spent much of the week mocking and criticizing Obama's jobs summit, blasting the president's $787 billion stimulus plan that they say has done nothing to spur job growth or creation.
The president acknowledged the skeptics, but he noted that if he "listened to skeptics, I wouldn't be here."
He added that for real economic recovery to be successful, businesses and Republicans and Democrats need to "set the politics and the chatter aside for a while and actually get to work."
Even as Obama and administration officials have cautioned that job growth would lag behind what most analysts consider a slow but real recovery, the president expressed growing impatience Thursday.
"I am not interested in taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to creating jobs," Obama said.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden defended the Recovery Act, crediting it with bringing the economy back from the "abyss" after the global financial meltdown.
"Our economy was in a freefall," Obama said. "Our financial system was on the verge of collapse."
Biden, speaking before Obama, credited the stimulus package with playing "a vital role in kick-starting this process."
The president was set to address the group again later Thursday after they broke into smaller groups to discuss ways to create jobs.
"Sometimes in this town, we talk about these things in clinical and academic ways, but this is not an academic debate," Obama said, noting that unemployment "is a struggle that cuts deep."