Obama Makes His Pitch for the Middle Class

The Atlantic Wire

This afternoon, President Obama is giving a speech on the economy from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois — a speech that administration officials have been promoting heavily over the past few days.

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12:50 p.m.: The speech is expected to begin shortly.

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Politico describes what to expect.

Administration officials and Democrats close to the White House say they hope the speech will achieve three goals: reset the political conversation on a still-recovering economy, warn Republicans not to create a fresh crisis in the fall and help cement the president’s legacy as economic steward through turbulent and hyperpartisan times.

According to a copy of the speech released to reporters under embargo, Obama will delineate the cornerstones of a strong and growing middle class. Those cornerstones also appear at a new website launched today by the administration, titled, "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class."

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At Slate, Matt Yglesias explains what's really going on. When the president first began running for office, he outlined an economic plan. When the economy tanked in 2008, that was put on hold. Today's speech, Yglesias argues, is an attempt to "elevate the dialogue and talk about that longer-term agenda." As our Elle Reeve pointed out on Monday, the power of a speech isn't much when compared to a hostile House majority.

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An interesting side note. Time explains why Obama chose Knox College for his address.

Knox has a special place in the President’s heart and in American history. “It’s the place where I gave my first big speech after I had been elected to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said at a recent event in Washington. Wednesday marks his third visit–once as a Senate candidate, once as a Senator and now as commander-in-chief–adding to a long history of presidents and political figures who have left a mark on the college.
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