Pelosi assures Calif. stimulus is working

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives a news conference at the University of California, San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. At rear is San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

February 17, 2010 7:10:30 PM PST
On the one-year anniversary of the $787 billion stimulus bill, the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing the benefits of the government spending package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was in San Francisco on Wednesday selling the message.

Pelosi says the White House, President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress all need to sell the benefits of the stimulus package because too many Americans do not get it.

"California has received nearly $90 billion from the recovery act," said Pelosi.

Pelosi repeated the familiar Democratic themes, but this time she was joined by small businesses owners, teachers and civil servants all talking about the jobs they have created with funding from the stimulus package.

"It's bringing families together, it's paying the rent, it's putting food on the table," said William Cartagena from Gentle Parking, LLC.

Cartagena said a $10,000 loan helped him lease more parking lots and hire more parking attendants.

At Laundry Locker dry cleaners, Arik Levy said he had hired four employees with backing from the stimulus funds.

"The people that we're putting to work are great. They have families, they're thankful for the jobs, they are people who would not have jobs if it wasn't for this program," said Levy.

The Democratic leadership is putting a face on the benefits of the recovery package, in hopes of selling it to the American people.

"We've been baking the pie now we have to sell the pie," said Pelosi.

The chief among the salesmen seems to be Obama.

"It is largely thanks to the recovery act that a second depression is no longer a possibility," said Obama.

In a White House report released Wednesday the Obama administration claims the stimulus has created or saved about two million jobs in its first year. A senior administration official projects the remaining funding will create or save another 1.5 million jobs this year.

Also on Wednesday Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina disputed the numbers saying, "We have yet to see the jobs we were promised."

"In Massachusetts it hasn't created one new job and throughout the country as well," said newly elected Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

That statement drew a response from San Francisco's mayor.

"Bring it on, bring on Scott Brown, tell him to come out to San Francisco, if he wants an education on the stimulus program. I'm happy to educate him," said Mayor Gavin Newsom.

If the mayor seemed a little hot and bothered, it may be because conservative critics have been so successful; a recent poll found just six percent of Americans believe the stimulus has created jobs. Pelosi believes it is residual anger over the bank bailout.

"Those who were opposed to the recovery tried to blend the two and they had some level of success in confusing the public," said Pelosi.

And so she is beating the drum to turn the public's opinion and got some help from another prominent Californian -- Gov. Schwarzenegger.

"Whoever is criticizing this whole stimulus package, ought to talk to the 150,000 people who now have a job, who now are able to provide for their families," said Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger was in Los Angeles Wednesday speaking out about the 150,000 jobs in California that he says have been created by the stimulus package.