In an address at the House of Blues in New Orleans, the president sounded many of the themes he has been emphasizing during the 2012 campaign, claiming his administration has made progress in recovering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and saying more must be done.
"When you travel around this country, you understand that the American people are tougher than any tough times," he said. "And although there are no quick fixes or easy solutions, there's no doubt that we can solve every challenge that we face. What's holding us back right now is not the lack of solutions. What's holding us back is a stalemate in Washington."
Obama blamed lack of progress on "a few folks who say, we are going to take the uncompromising view that the only path forward is to go back to what we were doing that got us into this mess in the first place -- the same top-down economics that we are now debating in this campaign."
The president noted that the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a Democratic bill to extend current federal income tax rates on all income up to $250,000 per year, but allow Bush-era cuts on income over that amount to expire.
"But, of course, we're dealing with Washington," he said. "So Republicans in the House, they've said, we're going to hold the middle-class tax cut hostage unless they get another trillion dollars' worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans."
Obama said the typical middle-class family's tax bill will go up by $2,200 a year if Congress allows tax cuts to expire, as they are scheduled to do at the end of the year.
He said presumptive Republican president nominee Mitt Romney "has got different ideas."
"And we tried those ideas, and they didn't work," the president said.