Obama to lay out economic vision in speeches this week

Anita Kumar

President Barack Obama will travel to Illinois Wednesday to deliver what the White House is billing as a major speech on the economy in which he lays out a long term vision to lift up the middle class.

Obama is expected to tout new and existing proposals -- for the White House, Congress and private companies -- to provide Americans with a job, an education, a home, affordable health care and a secure retirement, according to the White House.

He will speak at Knox College, the site of his first major economic speech on the national stage in 2005, where he first laid out an economic philosophy -- that the American economy works best when it grows from the middle-out, not the top down.

"It's a vision that says America is strongest when everybody's got a shot at opportunity -- not when our economy is winner-take-all, but when we're all in this together," writes Dan Pfeiffer, senior advisor to the president in an email Sundy night.

Pfieffer said Obama carried that vision through his first campaign in 2008, the White House and his second campaign for president last year.

"This Wednesday, almost five years after the financial crisis fueled a devastating recession, and two years after a debate over whether or not America would pay its bills that harmed our recovery, the president will return to Knox College to kick off a series of speeches that will lay out his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class and those fighting to join it front and center," Pfeiffer said. "He'll talk about the progress we've made together, the challenges that remain, and the path forward."

Why now?

Pfieffer says Obama thinks Washington has taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country.

"Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles, and trump up phony scandals," he said. "And in a couple of months, we will face some more critical budget deadlines that require congressional action, not showdowns that only serve to harm families and businesses -- and the president wants to talk about the issues that should be at the core of that debate."

Anita Kumar
McClatchy Washington Bureau