By CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – Now we know that President Obama wants to deliver his major speech on jobs next Wednesday night before a joint session of the Senate and House. I've been calling it a "make or break" speech because jobs remains issue No. 1 in his bid for re-election and there are still so many millions of Americans out of a job. There are millions more looking for a better job. Unless the president can turn things around between now and November 2012, his re-election will be in very deep trouble irrespective of his Republican challenger.
For the millions who are unemployed, the nation is not only in a recession, it's in a depression. That's certainly what it feels like for them.
There are millions more underemployed. They may have had a job a few years ago earning, let's say, $70,000 a year. They lost that job, ran out of unemployment and eventually had to settle for a job earning, let's say, $30,000 – with fewer benefits to boot. These people are officially counted as fully employed but let's be clear: they are not happy about their situation. For them, it's still very much a recession.
President Obama is going to have to convince these people and millions more who are deeply concerned about the jobs they still have that he's on top of the situation – that he knows how to create jobs. It won't be enough to simply state that his nearly $1 trillion economic stimulus package of 2009 "created or saved" 2 million or 3 million jobs. These folks are nervous and anxious and they want to see some hope.
There is no doubt that President Obama inherited an economic nightmare. Americans understand that. But they also understand that after nearly three years in the White House, the president needs to show the American people that he has a concrete plan for action. They really want action.
Pollsters like to say that the most important question they routinely ask voters is the "right track-wrong track" question. "Is the country moving on the right track or the wrong track?"
If most Americans believe the country is moving on the wrong track, the incumbents usually get pushed out of the way.
That's why I firmly believe that his speech next week will be a "make or break" moment for his presidency. How's that for pressure on President Obama?