Politics

Obama Will Pivot Back To Attacking Republicans On The Economy In Series Of Policy Speeches

On Wednesday, Obama returns to the site of a 2005 economic speech in Illinois to make his pitch “that the American economy works best when it grows from the middle out, not the top down,” according to the White House. The speech was previewed in a White House video Sunday night.

WASHINGTON — The White House announced Sunday night that President Obama is set to make a series of fresh economic proposals in speeches over “the next several weeks,” according to an email senior presidential adviser Dan Pfieffer sent to the White House Listserv.

Pfieffer’s email hints that Obama’s new economic push will include a lot of tough talk for Republicans.

The first of the speeches will come Wednesday at Knox College in Illinois, site of an economic speech Obama made shortly after taking office as a U.S. senator in 2005. The White House says Wednesday’s speech will be a major one, and will continue the themes Obama laid out eight years ago.

“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,” Pfeiffer wrote in the email to the White House list.

The White House released a video Sunday night previewing the speech and tying it to past Obama economic addresses.

The email from Pfeiffer promises a mix of “new ideas and new pushes for ideas [Obama] has discussed before,” in the coming weeks, including “steps Congress can take, steps he’ll take on his own, and steps the private sector can take that benefit us all.”

The email also suggests Republicans in Congress are in for a rhetorical pummeling.

“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,” Pfeiffer wrote.

The shift back to the economy comes as the White House waits to see what the Republican-controlled House will do with immigration. House Republicans have signaled they won’t do much on the subject until the end of the year, giving Obama little reason to keep all his focus on the topic, Pfeiffer’s email suggests.

“Why now?” he wrote. “Well, we’ve made important progress with the Senate passing comprehensive immigration reform and will continue to work with the House to push to get that enacted into law. But the President thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country.”

The Obama economic speeches come as Washington prepares for a new round of battles over the debt ceiling that are expected to see Republicans demand deep cuts in government spending in return for preventing the country from defaulting on its debts. Meanwhile, the country is still dealing with the impacts of the sequester and an economic recovery that has yet to put a significant dent in the unemployment rate.

Pfeiffer wrote that Obama’s fresh focus on the economy will lay out the president’s vision for how America gets back to the boom times.

“The point is to chart a course for where America needs to go — not just in the next three months or even the next three years, but a steady, persistent effort over the long term to restore this country’s basic bargain for the middle class,” Pfeiffer wrote.

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Evan McMorris-Santoro is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News.
Contact this reporter at evan@buzzfeed.com
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