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Obama unveils jobs creation package

US President Barack Obama took the sales pitch for his newly unveiled jobs plan on the road on Friday, venturing out of Washington and into the home turf of one of his top Republican antagonists.

The trip to Richmond, Virginia, was the first of many expected efforts by the president to rally public support for his £280 billion initiative.

In unveiling his programme during Thursday night's speech to a joint session of Congress, Mr Obama vowed to take his jobs message to "every corner of this country."

His fiery rhetoric foreshadowed a new toughness and readiness to sidestep Congress and take the fight to the American people in regions that sent vocal Republican opponents to Washington.

Mr Obama will likely have a hard time getting much of his plan through Congress, especially the Republican-controlled House.

Beyond their ideological opposition to Obama's plans, Republicans would seem hesitant to hand Obama a major legislative victory that could boost his re-election prospects. The president's poll numbers are sagging as he moves toward the 2012 election with the unemployment rate stuck above 9%.

Obama was opening his public relations campaign in the congressional district of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The White House said the choice of destination had more to do with Richmond's proximity to Washington than taking a jab at the Virginia Republican, who has been one of the president's fiercest critics.

The plan the president laid out on Thursday night in a nationally televised speech contains tax cuts and new spending. It would increase and extend a Social Security payroll tax cut for workers. It also provides a tax cut to employers.

Mr Cantor planned to hold his own event in Richmond later on Friday, speaking about his party's plans for job growth at a local business.

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