He used the appearance to do what many Democrats have hoped he'd have done all year: Fight back against Republican opposition and focus on issue number one for voters, the economy.
"I'm going to keep fighting, every single day, every single hour, every single minute, to turn this economy around; to put people back to work; to renew the American Dream for your families and for future generations," he told the crowd of over 10,000.
He not only unveiled a new proposal to rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of rail and 150 miles of America's runways; he also began his defense of his and Congressional Democrats' actions on the economy by lashing out at the Republicans'.
"When it comes to just about everything we've done to strengthen the middle class and rebuild our economy, almost every Republican in Congress said 'no.' Even where we usually agree, they say 'no,'" Mr. Obama said.
But he wasn't done: "They think it's better to score political points before an election than to solve problems. So they said 'no' to help for small businesses.... 'No' to middle-class tax cuts.... 'No' to clean energy jobs. 'No' to making college affordable. 'No' to reforming Wall Street. They are saying, right now, 'no' to cutting more taxes for small businesses," said Mr. Obama in referring to a small business bill that is stalled in the Senate.
The President summed up the Republican opposition as the "No, We Can't" party, compared to his campaign slogan of "Yes, We Can."
"I personally think 'Yes We Can' is more inspiring than 'No, We Can't,'" he quipped.
President Obama returns his focus to the economy next week - the number one issue in the fall mid-term elections and where his ability to change public perception of his economic policies could be the difference between keeping or losing control of the House of Representatives.
He starts off with a labor day event in Milwaukee but the big event is Wednesday. The White House is billing his speech in Cleveland as a chance to "update the American people on the state of the economy, talk about the progress we have made, and discuss some targeted proposals to keep the economy growing."
Further, the White House says the President will use the speech to rebut House Speaker John Boehner's remarks last week in Cleveland where he called on the President to fire his economic team. "Speaking in the city where Minority Leader Boehner recently detailed the Republican economic agenda, the President will lay out the choice between his ideas and the failed policies and failed philosophy that led us into this mess," according to White House Communications Director, Dan Pfeiffer.
"There are no silver bullets and anyone who is promising them is not being straight with the American people. But there are some ideas that will help the economy and help American families that are hurting and those proposals will be a part of the President's remarks," wrote Pfeiffer on the White House website.
The President will discuss his economic proposals more in depth at a news conference Friday at the White House.
The PoliticsPA website reports that President Obama will appear at a September 20 fundraiser for Democratic Senate Candidate Congressman Joe Sestak.
It will be President Obama's first campaign visit for Sestak, who beat Senator Arlen Specter in the May 18 primary.
Obama had supported Specter in that election, but now supports Sestak in his bid for the seat against Republican Pat Toomey.
Welcome back to Hot Ads of the Week. It has been a busy week for campaigns as some are gearing up for their primaries and others are fully into general election mode.
We've seen more ads from some our favorites, Michele Bachmann brought back "Jim the Election Guy" for a second go round, and Sharron Angle continues her attack on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. That's where we begin.
Above: Watch CBS News' Robert Hendin and Anthony Salvanto discuss these ads and more on "Washington Unplugged"
A Real Person for Harry Reid:
Welcome to the epicenter of negativity - the darkest, meanest and possibly the most important senate race this year -- Nevada. The first ad this week is from embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid's got a lot of cash to spend and he's going to spend it defining his opponent, Sharron Angle as an extremist. The ad features Angle saying that she "wouldn't have voted for unemployment extensions" and that "we really have spoiled our citizenry."
"Here I am / On the road again / There I am / Up on the stage / Here I go / Playin' the star again / There I go / Turn the page" is the chorus of the Seger classic "Turn the Page" and maybe the best ever song written about the pitfalls of life in the spotlight because it applies equally to rock-and-roll and to politics.
And maybe President Obama had those lyrics in his head as he spoke from Oval Office last night, the country's grandest stage, and asked the American people to turn their attention from Iraq to Afghanistan and the economy, as he said, "Now, it is time to turn the page."
After admitting that he had opposed the war from its outset, he said it's time to move on.
"The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead. And no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against al Qaeda," Mr. Obama told the public. "Because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense."
With a new report out today that campaign ad spending this year is outpacing 2006 levels, we welcome you to a new weekly feature on Hotsheet. Hot Ads of the Week will bring you the new, unique, crazy and funny political ads of the week and let you vote for your favorite.
We will highlight ads that getting buzz or ads that are examples of trends we are seeing around the country. But we'll also need your help, so if you see an ad that catches your attention for being too harsh or too funny or even too bizarre, let us know at email@example.com.
We'll begin with Tea Party favorite, Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota. She's got more than two million dollars to spend this cycle and she's up with her first ad -- a unique political ad that features an actor standing as a guide to the election. At some point, you think he's going to tell you there's a new financing deal on used cars.
"Jim the election guy" - appears in the ad and promises to help "sort things out for this upcoming political campaign."
Attacking opponent Democrat Tarryl Clark, Jim says "she's got a huge record for us to check out - I'm just getting started, but one thing's obvious, Tarryl Clark loves taxes - she's supported raising them every year she's been in office. There's a lot more we can learn about taxing Tarryl, I'll be back soon."
When he says Tarryl Clark loves taxes, half of the screen reads "Tarryl Clark (hearts) Taxes" like the "I love NYC" t-shirts.
It's a unique ad that promises more of the same style of attack ad in future spots from Jim the Election Guy and Michele Bachmann
Instead of framing the decision to vote around national security and fear of nuclear war, the new ad uses the young girl counting the daisy petals to mark the growing national debt.
Under a montage of grim economic headlines and images, the narrator says "years ago we feared destruction from others, now our greatest threat is from within. The stakes are too high to elect another career politician or a former athlete. Vote Bill Cooper for congress. Constitutional Conservative, Job Creator, and proven leader."Continue »
"These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history," he said in signing the Financial Regulatory Reform bill into law today. "These reforms will help lift our economy and lead all of us to a stronger, more prosperous future, and I am honored to sign them into law," he said.
But the problems over financial reform mirror the problems the White House has had on selling health care reform, that large pieces of legislation which normally should be seen as major once-in-a-generation accomplishments, are dismissed as government over-reaching.
What Democrats see as major accomplishments aimed to protect the average American, most Republicans see as big government, big spending policies that hurt the business community and therefore stifle job growth.
Here's the chief architect of the Republican opposition to the Obama agenda, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell: "For more than a year and a half, the president and his Democrat allies on Capitol Hill have pushed an anti-business, anti-jobs agenda on the American people in the form of one massive government intrusion after another."
Speaking today, Manchin said he hopes he can "serve the people of West Virginia as best I can" and honor Byrd's legacy, according to the Associated Press.
Manchin will take part in an August 28 primary and the November 2 general election. Byrd's term lasts until November 2012. Manchin entered the race on the first day of a 4-day candidate filing period.
Previously, there was disagreement in the statehouse as to when a special election could be held. Manchin asked the state attorney general for a ruling on the legality of holding an election either this fall or waiting until November 2012, as the secretary of state recommended.
After the attorney general said that under state law, the governor has the ability to call an election, Manchin called a special session of the legislature to settle the issue for good. Late yesterday, the legislature reached an agreement on the legislation allowing for the election to be held this year and Manchin signed it last night.
President Obama travels to Holland, Michigan, today to talk about one of his favorite successes, the recovery act and the investment it provided in the clean energy jobs of the future.
His trip is to participate in the groundbreaking of a new Compact Power advanced battery plant.
According to the White House, "The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the president announced last August. By the day of groundbreaking, Compact Power estimates it will employ 70 in construction jobs. This will rise to 200 by September and 300 at the peak of construction. The factory will hire more than 300 full-time Michigan workers when at scale. The president will discuss how these kinds of investments not only create private sector jobs now, but help American workers and businesses become more competitive."
Recently, the White House has said that the Recovery Act investments will allow the U.S. produce a large segment of the advanced battery market in the next decade and those batteries will be in high demand as more businesses and automobiles go green.
Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET
On a day the White House is again touting the success of the stimulus program, the business community is lashing out saying the Administration has "neglected America's number one priority" - job creation.
In a scathing open letter to President Obama, Congress and the American People, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that once the economy was stabilized, the White House and Congress took their "eyes off the ball."
"Instead of continuing their partnership with the business community and embracing proven ideas for job creation, they vilified industries while embarking on an ill-advised source of government expansion, major tax increases, massive deficits, and job-destroying regulations," the letter says.
No relationship in Washington may be more fickle than that of the White House and the business community.
Last month, at the White House's request, the Business Roundtable and the Business Council sent a 54-page report to the Obama administration outlining what regulations and pending legislation have hurt economic recovery.
"We believe the cumulative effect of these proposals will help defeat the objectives we all share -- reducing unemployment, improving the competitiveness of U.S. companies, and creating an environment that fosters long-term economic growth," wrote Ivan Seidenberg, the CEO of Verizon and the Chairman of the Business Roundtable, and James Owens, the CEO of Caterpillar and the Chairman of the Business Council.
"Virtually every new regulation has an impact on recovery, competitiveness and job creation. Often that impact is negative," they wrote.
Specifically, the report, titled "Policy Burdens Inhibiting Economic Growth," highlights the administration's proposal for taxing companies' foreign earnings, financial regulatory reform, the "failure to move" free trade agreements, pro-labor legislation and the health care bill as legislative accomplishments or proposed legislation that can impact job creation and economic recovery.
In response, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote a letter to Seidenberg this week saying that the White House is always "willing to consider input and ideas from everyone, including the business community." Jarrett said the task going forward is to "provide rules of the road to protect the American people, while fostering an environment that will stimulus growth and job creation."Continue »
The new CBS News Poll has some sobering numbers for the White House on the issue that matters most in the fall elections - the economy.
Now, 40 percent of Americans polled approve of President Obama's handling of the economy; 54 percent disapprove. That's down from 45 percent approval last month.
Seventy-one percent of those polled say that their local job market is bad and 70 percent say it's going to stay the same or get worse. Only 28 percent of respondents think the job market will improve.
The White House has consistently said that the economic mess was inherited, that the Recovery Act/stimulus package has worked, and that it's going to take time for the country to get back on track. Republicans and some business allies have countered that the health care law and other legislative priorities, like the proposed energy legislation, have cost the business community and make job creation difficult.
The poll numbers show that the White House's message of success, not so much in curing the economy, but success in doing what's right, doesn't seem to be sticking.Continue »
Throwing a change-up into the fall elections, the West Virginia attorney general has ruled that a special election to fill the seat of the late Robert Byrd could be called by the governor this year.
Governor Joe Manchin (pictured), a Democrat, had asked for the ruling before moving forward on appointing a replacement for late Sen. Robert Byrd. Last week, the secretary of state ruled that the special election would be held November 2012, not this year. The attorney general's decision trumps that ruling.
"The Legislature authorized the Governor to proclaim an election to fill the vacancy where, as here, the vacancy exceeds two years and six months in duration," wrote Attorney General Darrell McGraw.
Manchin has said that would not appoint himself to the seat, but has said he is very interested in running in the special election. It is almost certain that Manchin will appoint a Democrat to fill Byrd's seat until the expected election this November, which will fill the seat for rest of Byrd's term, which ends in 2013.Continue »
Updated 4:40 p.m. Eastern Time
President Obama hit Republicans hard for recent comments downplaying the financial crisis and for apologizing to BP in the first of three fundraisers he's appearing at today for Senate candidates.
"The other party spent a decade driving the economy into the ditch..now they want the car keys back. They can't have them back. They don't know how to drive," the president told a crowd at a grassroots fundraiser in Missouri for Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan.
The President took on Republican House leader John Boehner for his comment that the financial reform package moving through Congress is akin to killing an ant with a nuclear weapon. "That's what he called what we just went through...You can imagine a movie...'The ant that ate our economy' That's a big ant!" joked the president.
Responded Boehner in a statement to CBS News: "On President Obama's watch, more than three million Americans have lost their jobs and unemployment is near 10 percent. The American people continue to ask, where are the jobs? But the President keeps whining and indulging in childish partisan attacks. How out of touch can he get?"
Mr. Obama also chastised Republican Joe Barton for publicly apologizing to the chairman of BP over the company's putting $20 billion away to cover claims from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the request of the White House. "Does anybody here think BP should get an apology?" the president asked. The crowd answered with a resounding "NO."Continue »