President Obama will speak about the economy on a tour beginning Wednesday. The events could help him refocus national attention on issues that drove the last election.
It seems early in President Obama’s second term to commence legacy shaping, yet his schedule this week – packed with a series of campaign-style speeches heralding a strengthening economy and outlining new (or slightly used) fiscal proposals – represents a preliminary effort at just that.
The pivot is designed to allow him to claim credit for a modestly improving job market, while reiterating his administration’s focus on fighting for America’s middle class. The move also gives him an opportunity to turn away from the Washington-focused brawls (immigration and failed gun control legislation) and charged national debates (the George Zimmerman trial and race relations) that have dogged and distracted him so far this summer. Not to mention the international quagmires – from Benghazi to Edward Snowden – that have put the administration on defense for months.
“We have come a long way since the depths of the Great Recession,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Monday.
The president’s topical shift is a sales job that comes with risks because the economy has hardly roared back to full function. But it is a reminder that the last two presidential contests turned on which candidate would better steer the nation through tough economic times.