Obama embracing Roosevelt's middle class appeal

December 6, 2011 - 2:26 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is channeling President Theodore Roosevelt, traveling to small-town Kansas to talk about the need for economic fairness for the nation's middle class.

The president is discussing the economy in Osawatomie, Kan., where Roosevelt delivered his "New Nationalism" address in 1910 that called for a "square deal" for regular Americans.

Obama is laying out similar economic themes of giving middle-class workers a fair shake and greater financial security. These are concepts that Obama is expected to return to repeatedly during the 2012 campaign.

Obama is pressuring Congress to support an extension of a payroll tax cut that the White House says will give a $1,000 tax cut to a typical family earning $50,000 a year.

The president also wants to renew unemployment benefits expiring Dec. 31.