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Obama Warns About Job Losses Still To Come

Yes, there was a question about marijuana.

But there were some bits of real news at today's "Open For Questions" town hall meeting at the White House today. President Obama found another quick use for his "persistence" motto while answering a question about job creation, warning that while there have been some positive signals more could still lose their jobs.

"We're going to have to be patient and persistent about job creation because I don't think that we've lost all the jobs we're going to lose in this recession," he said. "We're still going to be in a difficult time for much of this year."

Obama explained that employment tends to be a "lagging indicator," as businesses tend to wait until well after a recovery has taken hold before adding to their payroll.

"The reason I point that out is, I don't want people to think that in one or two months suddenly we're going to see net job increases. It's going to take some time for the steps that we've taken to filter in."

Earlier today, Vice President Biden said he thought that the economic stimulus package was starting to have a "mild impact," but he, too, said there's more to be done as recovery funds just start getting paid out.

Obama also again defended the scope of his budget plan, while pointing a finger at his predecessor.

"A lot of the critics out there are saying, 'How is it that you're going to be spending all this money? We've got to worry about the deficit,' et cetera. I just want to remind you that the money that we are spending on education, on health care, and on energy -- if you added up all that increased money that we're spending, it still is not what's driving our long-term deficits," he said. "What's driving it is Medicare, Medicaid, a structural gap that we have because of the Bush tax cuts over the last several years that left us spending a lot more than we were saving."

The "investments" that will be made through his plan will address that gap, he said.

"I don't want us to constrict and reduce our ambitions, and set our sights lower for our kids and the next generation, because we weren't willing to make those investments now," he said.

The White House called today's experiment in a "virtual" town hall a success, and said that more than 67,000 people logged on to watch on the White House Web site. It was also carried live in part by most of the cable networks.