President Obama gave the first of a series of speeches today intended to refocus attention on the economy, reports CNN. "America has fought its way back," he declared, but "we're not there yet." He hit familiar themes in his speech at Knox College in Illinois, which, as the Wall Street Journal notes, was the site of his big first economic speech in 2005. Some examples:
- “With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington’s taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop."
- "Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1%. The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999."
- "This growing inequality, it's not just morally wrong, it's bad economics," he said. "Reversing these trends must be Washington's highest priority."
- He said his main focus will be on "how to use every minute of the 1,276 days remaining in my term to make this country work for working Americans again," reports AP.
- GOP reaction: Color Mitch McConnell unimpressed, reports Politico. “Every time he goes out and gives one of these speeches, it generates little more than a collective bipartisan eye roll. It’s just such a colossal waste of time and energy: Resources that would be better spent actually working with both parties in Congress to grow the economy and create jobs.”
- Coming battles: As Obama hits the speaking trail, House Republicans already are taking tangible steps to limit his agenda, reports the New York Times. The fall is shaping up to be yet another major battle over the debt ceiling and all things related to the budget.
- Full transcript: The text of Obama's speech is here.