WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said today his planto create jobs and rebuild U.S. highways, bridges and schools wasan "insurance policy" against the slowing economy falling backinto recession and challenged Republicans to explain to theAmerican people why they are opposed to those measures.

The embattled president also implied that he was changing coursein his dealings with Congress, saying he had learned that he gotnowhere by trying to find a middle ground in the huge partisandivide that now splits the American political system.

The president used a White House news conference to attempt toheighten the pressure he's sought to create on the GOP by travelingaround the country, into swing states and onto the home turf of keyRepublican foes including House Speaker John Boehner and Texas Gov.Rick Perry.

Giving a bit of ground on his own plan, he endorsed a newproposal by Senate Democrats to tax millionaires to pay for hisjobs program. "This is not a game," he said.

Republicans are resolutely opposed to much of Obama's jobsinitiative, both for its tax increases for wealthier people andsmall businesses and its reprise of stimulus spending on roads,bridges and schools and grants to local governments to pay thesalaries of teachers and first responders. They criticize his billas another version of his $825 billion stimulus of 2009, one thatthis time would rely on raising taxes.