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Obama stresses importance of economy

President Barack Obama is trying to re-focus the public on the economy.

Arguing in a new series of speeches, Obama says that building the middle class will boost the nation's bottom line. But there are no new policy proposals to make any changes.

President Obama traveled to Illinois today with some harsh words for lawmakers back in the nation's capital.

"With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.  And I am here to say this needs to stop," Obama said.

It was the first in a series of speeches on the economy.

Administration officials spent days hyping the remarks but there were no new policy proposals.

Instead, President Obama outlined what he called cornerstones of what it means to be American middle class.

More manufacturing jobs investment in education expanding home ownership and securing retirement.

"An economy that grows from the middle-out.  This is where I will focus my energies," Obama said.

To do this, the president said republicans need to put aside politics.

"I am laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot.  Now it's time for you to lay out your ideas,"

But even before he spoke, republican leaders dismissed it as old news yet another 'pivot' back to the economy.

With all the buildup, you'd think the president was unveiling the next bond film or something.

Americans aren't asking the question, where are the speeches? They're asking where are the jobs.

As he begins this summer sales pitch, President Obama is facing renewed doubts.

His job approval rating has slipped below 50 percent for the first time. Since September only 45 percent approve of his handling of the economy and 60 percent say the country is heading seriously down the wrong track.