President Obama will deliver a major campaign speech Thursday in Cleveland in which he will try to frame the election as a choice between two economic visions — one that protects the middle class and another that takes the country back to the failed policies of the past, campaign officials said.
The speech comes at a crucial moment for the president’s reelection campaign, with the latest jobs report suggesting that the economic recovery may be faltering, Republicans outraising Democrats in May for the first time of the cycle and fellow Democrats expressing growing concern about Obama’s prospects for reelection.
An Obama campaign official, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the campaign, said the speech is not an attempt to right the ship but merely another opportunity to articulate what the president sees as the framework for the election.
“The president has presented a blueprint for an economy built to last,” the official said. “Reinvesting in American manufacturing, energy, education and research and development. We need America to out-innovate and out-educate the world. That’s what’s necessary to achieve economic security for the middle class.”
Nonetheless, the speech comes at a time when even allies of the president are increasingly voicing their concern about the direction of the campaign. Among their observations is the idea that Obama is spending too much time criticizing opponent Mitt Romney and too little time framing a larger vision for where he wants to take the country if granted a second term.
“All they’re doing is going straight for Romney,” one Democratic strategist said. “That’s got to be 50 if not 60 percent of the message, but what’s the other piece of it? What is he offering people? More of the same? That’s not working. He needs to come up with a vision.”