I found the expression (Obama needs to present the Congress) smaller-bore job proposal in the August 22 article of Washington Times written by Chris Cillizza under the title Economy has Obama facing major political test — and Democratic strategists divided.
The text reads:
Some suggested that Obama needs to think big when it comes to his jobs proposal. -- “Go long and big,” said Steve Rosenthal, a senior party strategist. -- Others advised him to take it one step at a time, forcing a series of votes on smaller-bore jobs proposals rather than going for one major victory.
I understand that bore means diameter of a pipe and tube and caliber of a gun, hence it means sharply focused proposal on job creation. However, it’s the first time for me to see the word small bore being used as “smaller-bore proposal (or plan).” Is this just a casual expression in English, or rather a stylish expression of the writer? Can I use “small-bore” casually, like ‘He made a small-bore remark on the nuclear power issue,’ instead of a hard-edged remark?