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President Obama's Weekly Address: Building a Thriving Middle Class

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama says he believes "the true engine of economic growth" is a "rising, thriving middle class."  But in order to build on progress made over the last four years, he says in his weekly address, government should invest in three areas: jobs, skills and opportunities.

President Obama has been visiting cities across the country as part of his "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunities Tour" to highlight the innovations taking place in the U.S. to create jobs or teach skills needed to fill opportunities for middle class families. On Friday, the president wrapped up the tour's second stop in Baltimore, where he visited Ellicott Dredges, a factory that exports digging equipment abroad. Also in Baltimore, the president read with children and visited at a program that helps low-income earners get more training and guidance to find work opportunities.

"More than anything," President Obama says of the tour, "the American people make me optimistic about where we're headed as a nation. Especially after all we've been through the past several years. And that should encourage us to work even harder on the issues that matter to you."

Touting the Administration's progress -- lower unemployment, increased corporate profits, a "healing" housing market and "shrinking" deficits -- the president says both parties still need to continue to work to generate more jobs even faster.

"And I’m going to keep trying to work with both parties in Washington to make progress on your priorities.  Because I know that if we come together around creating more jobs, educating more of our kids, and building new ladders of opportunity for everyone who’s willing to climb them – we’ll all prosper, together," he says.

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