President Obama Asks For Cooperation During Stop In Galesburg - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

President Obama Asks For Cooperation During Stop In Galesburg

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President Obama at Knox College in Galesburg, IL President Obama at Knox College in Galesburg, IL

It was like a campaign speech, only instead of running for office, President Barack Obama was calling for action. The president is on a Midwest tour urging Congress to take steps to advance the economic recovery, especially for the middle class. He made his case during a stop at Knox College in Galesburg Wednesday, July 24, 2013. President Obama began his speech reflecting on the last time he had visited the college during a commencement address in 2005 as a U.S. Senator. He smiled as he pointed out back then, he had no motorcade, no TelePrompter and no gray hair.

Speaking before more than 500 people packed into Memorial Gymnasium, Mr. Obama noted that the middle class has lost ground since World War II due to technology and global competition. He cited the Maytag appliance plant in Galesburg that moved operations to Mexico, as an example.

Mr. Obama also noted that while the income of the top one percent has quadrupled between 1979 and 2007, the income of the middle class "barely nudged". But unlike previous occasions, the president didn't focus on plans and proposals as much as he stressed the need for Congress to address the problems.

"What we need isn't a three-month plan, or even a three-year plan, but a long-term American strategy, based on steady, persistent effort to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades," the president said.

He blamed Congress for using an axe, known as sequester, instead of a scalpel to surgically cut the budget. He criticized lawmakers for giving tax breaks that benefit the wealthy, but that don't help hard working people. At the same time, President Obama applauded Congress for what has been accomplished during his tenure, like saving the auto industry from the brink; making health care more affordable and moving toward energy independence.

After about an hour, the president wrapped up his speech.

"I have now run my last campaign. I do not intend to wait until the next campaign or the next president before tackling the issues that matter," Obama said. "I care about one thing and one thing only, and that's how to use every minute (APPLAUSE) of the remaining 1,276 days in my term to make this country work for working Americans again. (STANDING OVATION) That's all I care about. I don't have another election.

The Illinois Republican Party Chairman Jack Dorgan calls the presidents trip to Illinois "nothing but empty rhetoric and no new ideas." In a statement Dorgan says the president has, "pivoted back to the economic discussion countless times, with little to no results." He says White House speeches don't create jobs.