DNC chief: Economy will improve before the election

"We're going to see some signs of improvement," he told MSNBC, adding that improvements had already taken place since President Obama took office.

"And the question that Americans have to wrestle with in the midterms is basically, 'Do you want to keep climbing or do you want to go back into the policies that put the economy in a tailspin?' " he said.

Kaine's comments come on the heels of news that the economy has suffered another setback. The Department of Labor Thursday announced jobless claims jumped 12,000 last week. A day earlier, the department released a report showing small businesses with fewer than 50 workers accounted for 60 percent of job losses in 2009. 

These findings prompted Obama to urge Congress to pass the stalled small-business bill that provides tax relief and loan opportunities to small businesses. 

"These are the businesses that usually create most of the jobs here in this country," Obama said, adding that the news from the Labor Department "compels us to act."

Much to Obama's chagrin, Senate Republicans have resisted supporting the bill because they say it creates a TARP-like lending program.

"Senate Republican leadership needs to stop its effort to block it," Obama said, adding, "There will be plenty of time between now and November to play politics, but the small-business owners I met with this week, the ones that I've met with across the country this year, they don't have time for political games."

The Senate is expected to take up the small-business bill immediately upon returning from the August recess.