President Obama addresses middle class at Knox College in Galesburg

July 24, 2013 (GALESBURG, Ill.)

He travelled to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois to deliver a message on his vision for the United States economy.

"Today, five years after the start of the great recession, America has fought its way back," said President Obama.

In his homestate, where unemployment remains above nine percent, President Obama began by listing his administration's economic victories, including healthcare reform, lower deficits and job growth in the rest of the country.

"This year we're off to our strongest job growth since 1999," said President Obama.

But then he told the audience in Galesbug, which has suffered economically since the Maytag factory moved to Mexico ten years ago, that the trend of a shrinking middle class continues because house republicans still resist efforts aimed at uplifting working Americans.

"Reversing this trend has to be Washington's highest priority," said President Obama.

Eight years ago, speaking at a Knox College graduation, then U.S. Senator Barack Obama debuted his vision for the middle class. The White House chose to return here for Wednesday's speech.

"For the President, this little city embodies the message that he wanted to deliver about the middle class," said Teresa Amott, president, Knox College.

State republican chairman Jack Dorgan said "President Obama's trip to Illinois offers nothing but empty rhetoric and no new ideas."

But the president vowed for the next three years when he's able, he will ignore house republicans and use his presidential powers to assist the middle class.

"That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I'll use it," said President Obama.

From Galesburg, Obama planned to travel to neighboring Missouri for a similar economic speech. He was also scheduled to visit a port Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday to call for increased spending on infrastructure.

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