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Posted at 03:20 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Some Republican lawmakers plan to skip Obama’s jobs speech


(Dennis Brack - VIA BLOOMBERG)

This story has been updated.

That feeling of bipartisan goodwill that marked President Obama’s last address to a joint session of Congress in January?

Don’t expect it to make another appearance Thursday night.

Several congressional Republicans have said that they don’t plan to be in the House chamber when Obama delivers his jobs address to a joint session at 7 p.m. Thursday. A White House spokesman called their planned absences “regrettable.”

Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) was the first to announce last week when he wrote via Twitter that he would instead travel to his home district to meet with his constituents.

“Instead of being a prop of another one of the President’s speeches, next Thursday I will fly home to IL to talk to real job creators,” Walsh tweeted.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told ABC News’ Jon Karl that he likely won’t attend the speech, either.

“If [Obama] sent a written proposal over first, I would go hear him explain it, but frankly right now I’m so frustrated I don’t think I’m going to go,” DeMint said.

And Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who skipped Obama’s State of the Union in January, plans to watch the president’s latest address from his office across the street from the Capitol.

“Dr. Broun will not be attending President Obama’s joint address, but he looks forward to hearing the president’s proposal for job creation,” Broun’s spokeswoman, Meredith Griffanti, told The Ticket’s Chris Moody. “Dr. Broun will instead watch the speech from his office where he will host a live town hall via Twitter to interact with his constituents.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), too, has said he plans to skip Obama’s speech, which he criticized as “more political speech than substantive.” He will instead be hosting a New Orleans Saints party with family and friends, according to Fox News.

“I have a Saints party...and I am absolutely going to be there for the big game, kick-off of the Saints and the whole NFL,” Vitter said on Power Play Live with Chris Stirewalt.

Also not planning to attend Thursday’s speech is one of the 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) “has no plans to attend the speech at this point,” his spokesman, Gary Howard, said Wednesday.

But it appears that most congressional Republicans plan to be present for the address.

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) was the only member to turn down the White House’s invitation for a meeting with House Republicans in June. But a spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Landry plans to attend Thursday’s address, which will take place shortly before the kickoff of Thursday night’s NFL season opener between the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.

“I’m certainly going to watch the president make his speech about creating jobs, one of the reasons I came to Congress,” Landry said in a statement. “And I’m confident that, while watching the president talk about something he should have done two years ago, our Saints will do what they did two years ago -- win.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a frequent critic of the Obama administration, also said that he tentatively plans to attend.

“I would say right now I’m planning on attending, unless something changes,” Paul said Tuesday night.

Asked about the planned absences, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. “We think that’s regrettable.”

“What’s political is the decision not to attend. The President is addressing a joint session of Congress to talk about the economy, the American economy -- the need to grow the economy and create jobs. I think that’s a goal shared by Republicans of all political persuasions.”

Asked Wednesday whether he believed many congressional Republicans planned to skip Obama’s speech, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) responded, “I don’t think there’s much evidence that that is the case.”

“As far as the president’s speech, the speaker has invited the president; I will be anxiously awaiting his message and will be there,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing on Wednesday.

Staff writers Rosalind S. Helderman and David Nakamura contributed to this report.

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By  |  03:20 PM ET, 09/07/2011

 
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