"Which is why I'm going to need your help," he added.
So Obama set off on a two-day swing to towns far away from Washington, hoping to stockpile momentum ahead of looming fall fights over the nation's borrowing limit and federal spending levels. On Thursday, he planned to emphasize how House Republicans were threatening to undermine progress in key areas like jobs, housing, education and health care by pushing a budget that preserves deep cuts to federal agency operating budgets, the White House said.
In northeast Florida, Obama and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx were to tour the Jacksonville Port Authority, giving the president a chance to focus on what he says is a critical need to reinvest in American infrastructure to enable future economic growth. The president will promote the need to speed up projects by expediting permitting and cutting red tape in line with an executive order he signed. The port's terminal plans to expand its rail yard and container facility under a project enabled by that program, the White House said.
The visit also marks Obama's first to the state since the acquittal of the man charged in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The case has generated a painful, nationwide debate about racial prejudice. Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Florida planned to greet Obama with a full-page ad in the local newspaper claiming it is Obama, not Republicans, who has taken his eye off the economy.
Although Obama is offering little in the way of new policies or fresh solutions, his advisers couched the speeches as a concerted effort to put a spotlight on the economy after a six-month stretch that's been dominated by issues like gun control and immigration, as well as foreign policy crises and domestic controversies.