The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

July 23, 2013

Obama's latest economic push has familiar feel

WASHINGTON (AP) — If President Barack Obama's new focus on the economy sounds familiar, that's because he's done it before.

Since the first year of his presidency, Obama has been launching — and re-launching — initiatives on the economy. Some came with new policy proposals, others with catchy slogans.

Remember 2011's "Winning the Future" campaign? Or the "We Can't Wait" initiatives that followed later that year? Just a few months ago, Obama was headlining the "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour."

So far there's no slogan attached to the White House's latest initiative, which kicks off Wednesday in Galesburg, Ill. The president's advisers are billing his remarks as a major address on the economy, though no new initiatives are expected to be announced.

"I'm going to talk about where we need to go from here, how we need to put behind us the distractions and the phony debates and nonsense that somehow passes for politics these days, and get back to basics," Obama said Monday as he addressed Organizing for Action, the non-profit group backing his agenda.

Obama said Wednesday's speech would kick off a months-long effort to refocus on the economy and start exploring "some big and bold ideas" — some he's offered previously, and some new ones, too. Aides said those fresh policy proposals would come in a series of follow-up speeches planned through September, most of which will be narrowly targeted on issues like housing, retirement security and expanding access to education.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama's repeated attempts to orient his public agenda on the economy should serve as a reminder that "the president has always been focused on these issues."

"That doesn't mean we don't need to continue to remind people that improving the economic situation in America is the principle reason why our fellow citizens elect and send people to Washington," Carney said.

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