Politics/Elections
1:30 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Obama Calls For 'Economic Patriotism' In Kansas City Speech

President Obama spoke to a packed Uptown Theatre on Thursday, touting his economic successes and calling for more help for the middle class.
Credit Peggy Lowe/KCUR

President Obama woke up in Kansas City on Wednesday, rallying support for a growing economy, dreaming of equal pay for his daughters and touting what he called “economic patriotism.”

With just four months before the mid-term elections, Obama called out Congress for fighting him on help for the middle class in a rousing appearance at the Uptown Theatre and later, in a walk down Parkville’s Main Street.

“Don’t double down on top-down economics,” he said. “Let’s really fight to make sure everybody gets a chance. And by the way, everybody plays by the same rules. We could do so much more if we had that kind of economic patriotism.”

Obama promoted his executive orders that have brought new rounds of criticism from Congress and a conservative call for his impeachment.

“They’ve announced that they are going to sue me for taking executive actions to help people.  They are mad because I’m doing my job,” he said. “By the way, I’ve told them, I’d be happy to do it with you. The only reason I’m doing it on my own is because you don’t do anything.”

The House GOP members who called for the impeachment have since backed away from it, with House Speaker John Boehner calling the episode a White House “scam.” But just the threat proved popular with Democratic fundraisers, who brought in more than $2 million in online donations over the weekend with the impeachment speculation, the Washington Post reported.

Obama played with the Kansas City crowd, laughing about a trip to Arthur Bryant’s on Tuesday night, in which he ate ribs and talked with four residents about their financial troubles.  A woman in the back of the crowd yelled out that she’d make the president some coleslaw, since Bryant’s had run out of it during Obama’s visit.

But Obama was serious about the economy, noting millions of new jobs, growing graduation rates and an increase in exports. He also cited the rebounding growth rates released Wednesday.

Despite that, Congressional Republicans have fought him on those efforts, he said, on just about every idea that would have some of the biggest impact on middle and working class families.”

“They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage. They’ve said no to fair pay, making sure women have the ability to make sure they are getting paid the same as men for doing the same job,” he said. “They’ve said no to fixing our broken immigration system.  Rather than investing in education they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.”

After the speech, the GOP National Committee fired back that Obama had painted an overly rosy picture of the economy, which it says is “still on pace for one of the weakest years since the end of the recession.”

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt also weighed in, saying if the president wants cooperation, his remarks aren't the way to get it.

“The president should have been here this week," says Blunt. "We need presidential leadership, presidential leadership matters and legislatively we just don't have the kind of leadership that helps work through difficult situations and get things done or even encourages easy things that should be able to get done.”

A few protestors greeted Obama at the Uptown. They called for a bevy of demands, including legalizing marijuana, helping Palestine and cracking down on illegal immigration. Despite a heavy police presence, there were no reported incidents.

Obama mentioned the minimum wage and equal pay for women several times, saying he has helped the middle class, which will benefit the entire economy.

“I made sure women got more protection in their fight for fair pay in the workplace. Because I think when women succeed everyone succeeds,” he said. “I want my daughters paid the same as your sons.”