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Saying that his policies had “stopped the bleeding” in the job market, President Obama called Saturday on the country to “recommit” to helping the middle class.

“This Labor Day, we are reminded that we didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. We did it by rewarding hard work and responsibility. We did it by recognizing that we rise or we fall together as one nation – one people – all of us vested in one another,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.


Heading into a week of major economic events, the president is attempting to walk a familiar fine line: between sounding optimistic and realistic, striking a forward-looking tone even as he recounts reasons why the U.S. economy has sagged for so long.

“I don’t have to tell you that this is a very tough time for our country,” Obama began his address, then claimed credit for having “stopped the bleeding” in the job market that he inherited upon taking office.

Obama performed the same balancing act on Friday, embracing as “positive news” new jobless figures that he said were also “not nearly good enough.”

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Under mounting pressure from Democratic candidates to project a more forceful image on the central issue of the midterm campaigns, Obama will unveil new proposals during a trip Wednesday to Cleveland. The White House noted that the location – a Democratic stronghold in a swing state – is also where House Minority Leader John Boehner delivered an economic speech weeks earlier.

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