But a new round of fiscal deadlines threaten to upend that progress, adding urgency to the White House's desire to get the economy back on Washington's radar — while at the same time trying to get the public to side with the president's economic vision.
The potential fiscal showdown in September will focus on the debt ceiling and the automatic federal budget cuts that kicked in earlier this year. Obama wants to end the cuts before they extend into the next fiscal year. And some Republicans want more deficit reduction in exchange for raising the nation's borrowing limit, a bargain Obama says he would not back.
Obama's aides say that while Wednesday's address and subsequent events will touch on the looming fiscal fights, they say they do not see the speech as a legislative negotiating tactic. Nor will the president lay out an economic "to-do" list for Congress, reflecting the White House's recognition that many of the president's proposals would almost certainly face opposition on Capitol Hill, particularly in the Republican-led House.
And that dynamic, just like Obama's repeated economic PR campaigns, may again leave the public with a feeling that they've been here before.
Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC