The president started by linking his remarks to a speech he also gave at Knox College just after he was elected Senator.
Mr. Obama called the 2005 speech his first major speech as Senator, and framed the policies he outlined this time as answers to problems he identified back then.
"So in many ways the trends that I spoke about here in 2005, eight years ago, the trend of a winner take all economy where a few are doing better and better and better while everybody else just treads water. Those trends have been made worse by the recession," Obama said.
He then outlined his plan to create jobs, lower the cost of education, increase home ownership, safeguard retirement savings, and drive down healthcare costs.
Scattered throughout the plan were warnings to Republicans.
Mr. Obama chided Republicans in the house for not passing a Farm Bill and blocking immigration reform. The President then challenged the opposition to provide alternative policies and not just to block his policies, like the Affordable Care Act.
"With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington's taken its eye off the ball. And I'm here to say this needs to stop," Mr. Obama said.
The President also mentioned the vote coming up at the end the summer to raise the nation's debt ceiling. He said if Republicans force a showdown like they did in 2011 it would greatly hurt the economy.