White House

Obama: Boosting middle class is 'central challenge of our time'

Oct. 2, 2014: President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Oct. 2, 2014: President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.  (AP)

Acknowledging that most Americans are suffering slow income growth, President Obama said Thursday that boosting the middle class “is going to be the central challenge of our time.”

“We have to make our economy work for every working American,” Obama said at an address at Northwestern University in Chicago. “Every policy I pursue is aimed at answering that challenge.”

The president used a similar phrase – “the defining challenge of our time” — in December, in a speech on inequality in which he warned that “the combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.”

On Thursday, however, Obama did not use the word “inequality,” a term he has shied away from this year.

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