After tough week in Washington, Obama shifts to economy

President Obama on Saturday focused on his economic agenda during his first weekly address following several days of allegations regarding abuse of power by the White House.

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Obama touched on his Friday visits to a dredging-equipment manufacturer and an elementary school in Baltimore. Those visits, he said, underscored his goals to create a “rising, thriving middle class.”

The quick jaunt up to Baltimore also gave Obama respite from “the Washington echo chamber,” he noted.

The Obama administration came under fire this week for its handling of the IRS scandal, a subpoena of reporter phone records and its response to the Benghazi attack.

Obama said that’s why his trip to Baltimore was all the more necessary.

“Too often, our politics aren’t focused on the same things you are. Working hard. Supporting your family and your community. Making sure your kids have every chance in life,” Obama said.

The president said he planned to visit other cities in the coming weeks to promote his economic plan.

Obama said he would focus on making the United States “a magnet for good jobs” while also boosting education and raising middle-class wages and incomes.

Obama acknowledged that’s still a tough slog.

While Obama touted job-creation progress under his watch, he said the nation’s unemployment rate remained too high — though he noted it’s at the lowest level since 2008.

Still, Obama said he had reasons for optimism, citing rebounding housing markets, rising corporate profits and thriving energy, tech and auto industries.

“More than anything, the American people make me optimistic about where we’re headed as a nation. Especially after all we’ve been through the past several years,” Obama said.