President Obama plans to deliver his first economic speech of the general election campaign Thursday in the battleground of Ohio -- but he is not expected to offer new jobs proposals, potentially opening himself up to charges that he's running out of ammo for fixing the economy.
Instead, the president plans to keep pushing Congress to pass jobs proposals already on the table. The White House in recent days has put the onus on Congress to take action to invigorate the sagging economy, in light of recent reports that underscore both the depth of the recession's impact and the lingering struggles in the job market.
The speech Thursday in Cleveland is being billed as a "framing speech," in which the president will lay out how he sees the competing visions for creating jobs compared against Mitt Romney.
Obama, though, has come under fire from some Democrats including the outfit of prominent Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg
A widely read memo from their group Democracy Corps declared "we will face an impossible headwind in November if we do not move to a new narrative" on the economy.
The memo urged Democrats to focus on "what we will do to make a better future for the middle class."
"It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance -- and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail," the memo said. "The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future. They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle -- and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool's errand. They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way -- not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery."
As Democrats try and settle on the right message, Romney is hitting the president hard for recent economic figures -- as well as his stumble last week in which he said the private sector is "doing fine."
"He's had a number of very revealing comments that show just how far out of touch he is with what's happening in the country," Romney told Fox News.
"The president has the most anti-business, anti-investment, anti- jobs administration I think I've ever seen. And the people in this country want to see people who have private sector experience who know what it takes to get the private sector hiring again."
Obama, though, is pressing the message that his presidency stands for boosting middle-class Americans, while Romney's stands for leaving them behind in favor of helping the wealthy.
"One of our jobs during this election is to get folks to pay attention to what the other side is actually offering," he said Tuesday in Philadelphia, during one of several fundraisers that day. "It boils down to deeper tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans ... and the elimination of regulations that would make sure that Wall Street doesn't engage in the kind of behavior that resulted in this crisis."
He added: "We didn't forget. We remember. We're not going back. We're moving forward."
Romney continues to focus heavily on the economy. He's addressing the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs for top American companies, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, before heading to Ohio for a fundraiser later in the day.
Fox News' Ed Henry contributed to this report.