Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama returns to his home state of Illinois on Wednesday to kick off a series of speeches intended to shift the public conversation back to the economy.
The first speech in the series will take place at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where Obama delivered his first major economic address of his national political career eight years ago.
In an e-mail to supporters over the weekend, senior White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer linked the Obama's themes to the major economic addresses of his presidency.
"Almost five years after the financial crisis fueled a devastating recession, and two years after a debate over whether or not America would pay its bills that harmed our recovery, the president will return to Knox College to kick off a series of speeches that will lay out his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class and those fighting to join it front and center," Pfeiffer wrote.
After spending the first six months of his second term focused on gun control and immigration and engulfed by the IRS uproar and national security crises, senior administration officials say Obama wanted to change the terms of the political debate and lay out the economic direction he feels America should take.
So he'll spend the next several weeks pushing a message focused on the middle class, delivering speeches related to job security, education, home ownership, health care and retirement.
Polls show many Americans are still concerned about unemployment and the economy overall even though indicators show an improving recovery and Wall Street is again in record territory. Additionally, there are new questions about college affordability, and new pressure from Congress over his sweeping health care initiative.
"Over the course of that period of time you will hear new policy initiatives from the president," said Press Secretary Jay Carney. "But part of what he is trying to do in Galesburg at Knox College is to refocus our attention on what he believes are the central issues that we face as a country here, at least domestically, and that is the need to continue to grow the middle class."
Carney avoided saying whether Wednesday's speech would include any specific policy proposals, instead saying Obama would take the opportunity to lay out his economic "vision."
A senior administration official confirmed that in his speech at Knox College, the president would lay out the broad differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the economic challenges facing the middle class. Then in speeches throughout the fall, the president will propose new policy and new approaches to specific policy issues.