Obama: Washington took its eye off economic ball

FILE - This July 19, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington. Drawing renewed attention to the economy, Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)
FILE - This July 19, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington. Drawing renewed attention to the economy, Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) — President Barack Obama is accusing Washington of taking “its eye off the ball” and getting distracted from the economy.

The president is trying to refocus debate on pocketbook concerns after months that have been dominated by what he calls “phony scandals” and “stale debates.”

Obama’s remarks come in a speech he’s giving Illinois’ Knox College. That school was the site of his first major economic address as a U.S. senator eight years ago.

Wednesday’s speech includes no new policy initiatives, but Obama is declaring that reversing bad economic trends should be Washington’s highest priority.

Obama is promising to fight for the middle class with policies to promote jobs, educational opportunities, homeownership, secure retirement and health care.

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