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July 22, 2013

Obama begins the countdown: 1,200 days left in his term

President Barack Obama has 1,200 days left in office. But who's counting? 

Obama speaking to activists with the political organization, Organizing for Action, on Monday night says he wants to spend the next three-plus years working on the policies he was re-elected on last year.

"I’ve got a little over 1,200 days left in office," he said. "I am going to spend every waking minute of every one of those days thinking about and then acting upon any good ideas out there that are going to help ordinary Americans succeed, that are going to make sure that the next generation believes in the American Dream because they’ve seen it in their own lives. That’s how I’m going to spend my time."

Obama spoke at a pair events at the group's day-long summit designed to motivate supporters into campaigning to pass the president's policies from climate change to an immigration overhaul. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. also spoke at the event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington.

Obama talked about the gradual economic recovery and referenced the speech he will give Wednesday on ways to creat more jobs.

"We’ve gotten back on level ground, but now we’ve got to keep climbing, we’ve got to keep going -- because there are still too many of our friends and our neighbors and family members who are out there hurting, who are still struggling, who are still treading water," he said. "'The ground beneath our feet is a little firmer than it was, but we’ve got a long way to go before middle-class families feel secure and before those who are willing to strive to get into the middle class have more ladders or opportunity."

Obama will travel to Illinois Wednesday to deliver what the White House is billing as a major speech on the economy in which he lays out a long term vision to lift up the middle class. He is expected to tout new and existing proposals -- for the White House, Congress and private companies  -- to provide Americans with a job, an education, a home, affordable health care and a secure retirement, according to the White House. 

He told supporters he's got a "pretty good speech" planned.

"I’m going to talk about where we need to go from here; how we need to put behind us the distractions and the phony debate and nonsense that somehow passes for politics these days, and get back to basics, refocus on what it is that everybody is talking about around the kitchen table, what people are talking about day to day with their families," he said. "And it’s going to be the kickoff to what is essentially several months of us trying to get Washington and the press to refocus on the economy and the struggles that middle-class families are going through, but also for us to start exploring some big and bold ideas, some of which I’ve offered in the past, some of which will be new but allow us to consistently, steadily make progress."  

Obama said the challenge is to keep some of the 20 million people involved in his re-election involved now with policy issues.  

"In some ways this stuff is more important," he said. "And that’s where all of you come in. How are we going to make sure that we’re engaging all the people that we touched during the course of the campaign in this central question of creating and building a rising, thriving, active, growing middle class." 


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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