President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs bill would help improve the U.S. economy "right away," he said as he was to tout the program at a poor Denver school.
"That's going to make a difference right away," Obama told BET network in an interview broadcast Monday night.
"It's estimated that that would grow the economy by an extra 2 percent, put 1.9 million people back to work," he said. "Those aren't our estimates. Those are independent estimates. So that could make a difference."
He said if Congress doesn't do enough to help the economy, "then we'll get a new Congress."
But he bristled when asked about criticism he failed to address black poverty and unemployment.
Newscaster Emmett Miller spoke of a hypothetical young African-American in Chicago's South Side, whose father was gone and whose mother worked 10 hours a day for "peanuts."
There are no jobs and, "You won't even say, 'Look, I am going to help you,'" Miller said.
"Emmett, that is not -- first of all, that is not what people are saying," Obama said. "What people are saying all across the country is we are hurting and we've been hurting for a long time. And the question is how can we make sure the economy is working for every single person."
Obama planned to fly to Denver Tuesday to appear at a high school in one of the city's poorest communities to promote the jobs plan.
In remarks at Abraham Lincoln High School around 2:15 p.m. MDT (4:15 p.m. EDT), Obama was expected to argue the jobs bill, known as the American Jobs Act, would put people to work "rebuilding and modernizing ... at least 35,000 public schools" nationwide, the White House said.
The bill -- a package of tax cuts and new government spending that has drawn opposition from Republicans in Congress and a mixed reaction from Democrats -- proposes a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure.
The school spending is proposed as part of a $140 billion program that would also repair roads and bridges -- spending Obama argues is critical to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.
The high school Obama was to speak at is located in a district represented by Denver's only Republican City Council member. Jeanne Faatz, in her third term, told The Denver Post she found it "ironic that he selected my district to give his speech."
She said if Obama hoped to convert her, "That's not going to happen."
Obama was to return to the White House around 9:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday.