- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

With his foreign policy under siege, President Obama will once again pivot back to the economy in a speech Thursday on the friendly confines of a college campus.

Senior presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Mr. Obama will “take a step back from the rush of current events to explain what we’ve done to recover from the Great Recession.”

In the address at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the president will also explain “what we need to do to ensure that more middle-class Americans feel that progress in their own lives,” Mr. Pfeiffer said in an email to supporters.

There’s little wonder why Mr. Obama is ready to pivot away from foreign policy. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this month showed Mr. Obama’s approval rating among Americans on foreign policy at 32 percent, the lowest in the survey since he took office in 2009.

The president is coming off a summer in which he first said “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with Islamic State terrorists in Syria, then expanded an air war against the group. He’s also been criticized for being slow to recognize the threat posed by the Islamic State, amid ample intelligence warnings.

Mr. Pfeiffer said the president “laid out a forceful case” last week at the United Nations that American strength and leadership remains constant “in an uncertain world.”

On Thursday, Mr. Obama “will make the case for what has always fueled America’s leadership — and that’s America’s economic greatness,” Mr. Pfeiffer said.

But as the president’s party heads into the crucial mid-term elections, Mr. Obama’s job approval rating for handling the economy isn’t much better than his marks for foreign policy. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows him this month with a 40.3 percent approval rating on the economy, and a 54.3 percent disapproval rating.

Mr. Pfeiffer said the president’s policies “have helped America come back farther and faster from recession than almost any other advanced nation.”

In the speech, Mr. Obama “will detail the strategy we need to follow to ensure that this century is the American century and that the benefits of our growth are shared broadly with the middle class and all who hope to join it,” he said.

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