President Obama is starting a campaign to push middle class prosperity. Speaking in his home state of Illinois, the President said the middle class suffered greatly in the deep recession and must be bolstered. He cited steady progress in rebuilding the economy and said the nation is "poised to reverse forces that have battered the middle class for so long." But, he added, "We're not there yet."
The President argued that most economic gains continue to flow to the "top one percent." He called it a growing inequality which "isn't just morally wrong; it's bad economics." Obama condemned partisan gridlock in Congress and said it needs to stop. He insisted that Washington must "make the investments necessary to promote longterm growth and shared prosperity."
The President vowed to work with any willing Republican to forge compromises on key issues. Obama said Washington is "taking its eye off the ball" with distractions and phony scandals. He also defended the healthcare reform law and accused critics of promoting a "politically motivated misinformation campaign." The President said the law is working, arguing that "competition and choice are pushing healthcare prices down."
Criticizing House Republicans, Obama said, "You can't just be against something -- you've got to be for something." He argued that "repealing Obamacare and cutting spending is not an economic plan." Earlier, GOP House Speaker John Boehner criticized Obama's pending speech. He predicted it would offer nothing new and likened it to "an Easter egg with no candy in it."