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Obama suggests midterms will "set the stage for America's greatness"

President Obama on Thursday suggested that if voters elect Democrats in this November's midterm elections, it could "set the stage for America's greatness" in the decades to come.

Speaking at the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, President Obama reviewed the elements of his economic agenda that have been thwarted by Republicans in Congress, such as raising the federal minimum wage and passing legislation to assist working mothers. He also promised to keep pursuing universal pre-kindergarten, immigration reform, the use of tax reforms to pay for infrastructure, and other agenda items.

"If gridlock prevails, if cooperation and compromise are no longer valued but vilified, then I'll keep doing everything I can on my own if it will make a difference for working Americans," Mr. Obama said, promising to keep working with state and local leaders and the private sector.

However, pursuing that agenda will be easier with more Democrats on Capitol Hill, he suggested.

"I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle's pretty happy about that," he said. "But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them. This isn't some official campaign speech or political speech, and I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, although I suppose it is kind of implied."

The president added, "The decisions we make this year, and over the next few years, will determine whether or not we set the stage for America's greatness in this new century like we did in the last."

Mr. Obama argued that the U.S. is poised for strong economic growth because of the foundation that's been set during his six years in office.

"It is indisputable that our economy is stronger today than it was when I took office," he said, acknowledging that there's more work to do.

The strength of the U.S. economy, he said, enables the nation to lead on the world stage, when it comes to fighting ISIS, the Ebola virus and other international crises.

"Obviously, recent months have seen their fair share of turmoil around the globe," Mr. Obama said. "But one thing has emerged crystal clear: American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world."