WASHINGTON — Under pressure from Republicans and an impatient public to fix the sputtering economic recovery, President Barack Obama is refocusing on this politically potent issue by talking job creation with business and labor leaders at the White House.

The White House has lacked a unified economic message in recent weeks, with its attention focused instead on health care and Obama's three-month review of the Afghanistan war. With unemployment in double digits for the first time in decades, Democratic lawmakers are suggesting a second economic stimulus aimed directly at job creation may be needed.

Administration officials are hoping Thursday's jobs forum, an Obama trip to Pennsylvania on Friday and a major economic speech on Tuesday will help counter Republican critics who contend the administration's economic recovery efforts have failed and its oversight of the $787 billion stimulus package has been inadequate.

At the jobs forum, Obama planned to defend his administration's handling of the economy and argue that it would be in far worse shape had Congress not passed the huge stimulus bill earlier this year. Under intense GOP attacks, public support for the stimulus effort has faded.

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