U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday painted an upbeat picture of economic recovery and at the same time, spared no effort to blast Republicans in Congress for not working with him to pass economic policies that will benefit the "real people."
Obama delivered a 40-minute speech to some 1,300 audience in Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas where he was attending a couple of fund-raisers.
The president first cited job gains and other economic improvements during his presidency, and then turned the most part of his speech to Republicans, who he said "have voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class."
He cited 52 straight months of job growth, 10 million jobs created, unemployment rate the lowest it's been since 2008.
"By almost any measure, we are better off now than where we were when I took office," he said. "Some of it had to do with decisions we made to build our economy on a new foundation."
Then he pointed fingers of blame to Republicans. "The best thing you can say for them is this year they have not shut down the government," Obama said scathingly, "but it's only July."
The president also said Republicans never complained when President George W. Bush issued "more executive orders than me."
The economy was supposed to be the primary theme of Obama's visit to Texas, which included political fundraisers in Dallas and Austin. But it was much overshadowed by the headlines of a wave of unaccompanied child immigrants who illegally crossed the U.S.- Mexico border.
Statistics showed that since October last year, more than 57, 000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended crossing illegally into the United States through the southwest border. The vast majority of them are from Central America including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The influx of immigrant children is filling up immigrant detention centers and overwhelming U.S. authorities' capacity. It also sparked contentions among the public and in Washington how to deal with those undocumented minors.
The White House on Tuesday formally requested 3.7 billion dollars in emergency funding from Congress to deal with the crisis. But the proposal was quickly met with pushback from the Republicans.
Obama on Wednesday met with Texas Governor Rick Perry and other local leaders in Dallas to discuss the issue. In a short address delivered later, he tried to ratchet up pressure on Congress to move quickly to approve the funds.