July 24 - President Barack Obama hits the road to push his vision for an expanded middle class, hoping to stave off partisan gridlock as economic issues loom. Karen Hendren reports.
With a vision of expanding the middle class, President Barack Obama hit the road... returning to his political roots. His first stop... a speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois... where job creation topped the agenda. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "For the first time since the 90's, the number of American manufacturing jobs hasn't gone down, they've gone up." This... the first of a series of economic speeches, comes amid mixed economic reports. Earlier this month, the White House reported a lower than expected deficit ..But economists are predicting that the economy may only grow by 2 percent this year. Obama says the slow pace of the recovery is the fault of a divided Washington. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "If Washington will just shake off its complacency, and set aside the kind of slash and burn partisanship that we've just seen for way too long... if we just make some common sense decisions, our economy will be stronger a year from now. It will be stronger five years from now. It'll be stronger ten years from now." House Speaker John Boehner criticized Obama's speech. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER SAYING: "The White House said it's not going to say anything new... What's the point? Nothing. It's an Easter egg with no candy in it. A hollow shell." The economy has showed slow improvement with gains in housing, consumer confidence and the stock market. The unemployment rate, although still high, has fallen to 7.6 percent. The White House is hoping this attention on the economy will increase pressure on lawmakers to avoid showdowns on taxes and spending in the fall.