President Obama alluded to the stress of a week of controversies that distracted from his agenda as he tried to shift his message back to jobs and the economy at a speech Friday in Baltimore.
“I know it can seem frustrating sometimes when it seems like Washington’s priorities aren’t the same as your priorities,” Obama said at the Ellicott Dredge factory. “I know it often seems like folks down there are more concerned with their jobs than with yours.”
While “others may get distracted by chasing every fleeting issue that passes by,” he said, “the middle class will always be my number one focus, period.” In line with his effort to pivot away from scandal, he didn’t speak about the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi or the Justice Department’s probe into Associated Press reporting.
Though it’s difficult to make progress with Republicans — “I know, it’s surprising isn’t it? We’ve had a little trouble getting our Republican friends to work with us,” he quipped — Obama said he will keep pushing. “I’m going to keep trying to work with both parties in Washington to make progress, because our problems are solvable,” he said.
Obama spoke after visiting Moravia Park Elementary School, where he visited with a pre-kindergarten class and joined students in drawing zoo animals. “My tiger wasn’t very good,” he said. “The kids were not impressed.”