Obama steps away from global crises to talk jobs

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Obama steps away from global crises to talk jobs
US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base October 1, 2014 in Maryland. Obama is heading to Chicago where he will attend a campaign event for Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Il, and deliver remarks on the economy at Northwestern University. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base October 1, 2014 in Maryland. Obama is heading to Chicago where he will attend a campaign event for Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Il, and deliver remarks on the economy at Northwestern University. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives at Gary Chicago International Airport October 1, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. Obama will attend a campaign event for Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Il, and deliver remarks on the economy at Northwestern University. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama waves from the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Obama is traveling to Chicago but is flying into Gary-Chicago International airport, rather than the usual O’Hare International Airport. On Thursday, Obama will attend a campaign event with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and then give a speech about the economy at Northwestern University in Evanston. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama salutes as he walks off of Marine on at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Obama is traveling to Chicago but is flying into Gary-Chicago International airport, rather than the usual O’Hare International Airport. On Thursday, Obama will attend a campaign event with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and then give a speech about the economy at Northwestern University in Evanston. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US President Barack Obama (R) jokingly reacts as he shakes hands with a man wearing a horse head mask on a street in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with a bystander wearing a horse head mask on street in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama winks at the press as he prepares to depart the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2014. Obama is heading to Chicago where he will attend a campaign event for Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Il, and deliver remarks on the economy at Northwestern University. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama with Congressman Ed Perlmutter arrive in Colorado at Denver International Airport, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama plays pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama fist bumps with a statue of a gorilla at a pub in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama hugs Kalynne May Arrick from Tyler, Texas, after learning that her older brother Marine Sgt. Kenneth May had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010, at a pub in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama visits with people along 15th Street in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama visits with people along 15th Street in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama talks with a young boy in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) talks with a man as he arrives in a restaurant to dine with a group of people, who wrote letters to him, in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama listens to a group of people, who wrote letters to him, as he sits to dine with them at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama fist bumps with a statue of a gorilla at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama sits down for dinner, with five individuals who have written to him about the issues that matter most to them and shared stories, at Wazee Supper Club in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks to his car upon at the Denver International Airport on July 8, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) sits to dine with a group of people, who wrote letters to him, at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) speaks with a group of people, who wrote letters to him, as they sit to dine at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama arrives in Colorado at Denver International Airport, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 08: President Barack Obama visits with people along 15th Street in downtown Denver after arriving in Colorado, July 08, 2014. President Obama is in Colorado to speak about the economy and raise money for Senator Mark Udall's re-election campaign. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama gives a challenge coin to Kalynne May Arrick from Tyler, Texas, after learing that her older brother Marine Sgt. Kenneth May had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010, at a pub in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (R) sip their beers at a pub in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) speaks with a group of people, who wrote letters to him, as they sit to dine at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado, on July 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO (AP) - While Washington's attention was focused on a Secret Service scandal, President Barack Obama slipped away for an overnight trip to his family home in Chicago and a speech Thursday to assure voters he is still focused on the economy.

Obama is delivering his afternoon economic address at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, just a short hop from Chicago by helicopter. The White House has long planned the speech as a way to frame the closing arguments of a midterm campaign with control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance.

WHY ANOTHER ECONOMIC SPEECH?

The president has spent weeks consumed with international crises and wants to let voters know he hasn't forgotten about their money struggles. "I can put my record against any leader around the world in terms of digging ourselves out of a terrible, almost unprecedented financial crisis," Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday on "60 Minutes." An Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday found that the economy is the top issue for the Americans most likely to cast ballots in the midterm elections. Nine out of 10 consider it extremely or very important in deciding their votes for Congress. They have just one month to make up their minds, and Obama plans to speak out more during that time on pocketbook concerns, including a jobs speech Friday in Indiana.

WILL HE SAY ANYTHING NEW?

Obama's challenge is to walk a delicate line between taking credit for an economic recovery without seeming to disregard continuing hard times. His aides say this speech isn't designed to lay out new policy ideas, but to explain what he's done to help the nation recover from the Great Recession. He also plans to acknowledge the reality that many Americans aren't feeling the recovery and argue that more needs to be done. His aides say he intends to be more presidential than partisan.

WHY NORTHWESTERN?

Home court advantage. The former Illinois senator can't go just anywhere these days, with Democratic candidates avoiding the spotlight with the divisive president. Obama aides also thought a scholarly business school audience would be the ideal setting for an address scheduled to last about 45 minutes and dive deeper into the economic issues than a typical campaign speech. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama will be speaking to the "students who will have a hand in shaping America's economic future and leadership both at home and abroad."

HOW IS THE ECONOMY DOING?

Many important indicators are good - unemployment has been going down, consumer spending is up and housing prices are rising. The stock market hit records in the past month, then softened in recent days. A big sign will be the jobs report coming out Friday. But although some of the figures look good, they aren't helping family budgets. "They don't feel it because incomes and wages are not going up," Obama said on "60 Minutes." He argued that Democratic priorities like raising the minimum wage, job training and road building will help. It's yet to be seen if voters agree.

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