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K.C. Star: Obama stands for the middle class

Published July 26, 2013 4:43 pm

The Kansas City Star
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Why President Barack Obama wanted to get out of D.C. to talk about the economy is not hard to decipher. The Capitol is ground zero of GOP obstructionists.

So Obama left the naysayers behind and pledged to spend the rest of his time in office fighting to improve the lives of the middle class. He did so with gusto on two college campuses, first in his home state of Illinois, and then at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

His template is consistent, reasonable and refreshingly positive: access to quality education from preschool to college, infrastructure upgrades, good-paying jobs, home ownership, secure retirements and affordable health care.

Before his jet even left the tarmac in Washington, GOP leaders lambasted the president for leaving, saying he should be lobbying lawmakers instead. Please. Republicans have no intention of being lobbied by this president. They are threatening to shut down government with no budget by Oct. 1, followed shortly by another debt ceiling showdown.

The president hopes public support will help force Congress into meaningful compromises.

Budget disagreements are immense. The GOP House budget plans take a meat cleaver, as Obama said, to his efforts to improve the odds for the middle class, protect the environment and create more secure jobs.

Obama promises to use his executive authority to make changes whenever possible and tap CEOs, philanthropists and labor leaders to help him try to solve the many challenges still facing the nation's economy.

In part, Obama used his Show-Me State visit to repeat his call for the GOP to show the nation specifics of their alternatives. And he promised to listen.

"If Washington will just shake off its complacency and set aside the kind of slash-and-burn partisanship we've seen these past few years — our economy will be stronger a year from now," Obama said.

It would be welcome if more Americans take up the call for expanding opportunities and push Congress toward compromises.

Obama promised to continue to define his effort to lessen inequities and better prepare workers to compete globally in the days ahead. He sounds again like the candidate America elected twice, energized and focused. The onus now shifts to the GOP to see whether it can conjure an alternative positive vision.