1:53 p.m.: Cornerstone four: secure retirement. "We still live with an upside-down system where those at the top get generous tax incentives to save," Obama said, "while tens of millions of hardworking Americans get none at all." One way to address it: immigration reform, which would ensure new income to Social Security.
1:51 p.m.: Cornerstone three: home ownership. The key, Obama says, "is to encourage homeownership that isn’t based on bubbles, but is instead based on a solid foundation." He pitches an idea proposed by a Mitt Romney advisor: let owners refinance their homes to get lower rates.
1:45 p.m.: Cornerstone two: education. As always, education is a winner with the audience. As for cost? "If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century."
The plan: job training at community colleges, preschool for all, faster internet in schools. And a crowd-pleaser: lower costs for higher education.
1:40 p.m.: Obama unveils the first of his six "cornerstones" to a growing middle class: "more good jobs in durable, growing industries."
"Let’s tell the world that America is open for business." And — yet again — Obama pitches new infrastructure spending. "We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare!" The crowd laughs.
1:36 p.m.: Again to applause, Obama insists he can get the job done.
I will not allow gridlock, inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way. Whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it. Where I can’t act on my own, I’ll pick up the phone and call CEOs, and philanthropists, and college presidents – anybody who can help – and enlist them in our efforts.
Again, our Elle Reeve thinks that's unlikely to happen.
1:33 p.m.: Obama receives extensive applause when he declares his intention to travel the country arguing for his economic cornerstones: "Job security, with good wages and durable industries. A good education. A home to call your own. Affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you’re not rich. Reducing poverty and inequality. Growing prosperity and opportunity."
This isn't a three-month or three-year plan, he says, but a long-term project.
1:30 p.m.: The president can't resist getting in a dig about the Republicans' obsession with Obamacare. "They’ll bring up Obamacare, despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as they had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no Obamacare."
1:25 p.m.: Obama suggests that reversing the trend of new wealth going to the most wealthy "must be Washington’s highest priority" and then indicates who's to blame for that not happening: "a sizable group of Republican lawmakers." He lamented the House's failure to pass the immigration reform bill and a revamped Farm Bill.
With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop.
1:20 p.m.: After outlining his administration's successes, Obama began his focus on the middle class.
Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past ten years have continued to flow to the top 1%. The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. And companies continue to hold back on hiring those who have been out of work for some time.
1:18 p.m.: "Today, five years after the start of that Great Recession, America has fought its way back."