Addressing economic inequality should be Washington's top priority, President Barack Obama has said, as an autumn budget battle looms with Congress.
He touted the slow but steady recovery in what was billed as a major economic speech at Knox College in Illinois.
The White House has framed the speech as an effort to refocus a distracted Washington on the economy.
But ahead of the president's remarks, opposition Republicans argued the country needed actions, not words.
On Wednesday, Mr Obama returned to Knox College, where he gave one of his first addresses as a newly elected US senator in 2005.
"This growing inequality isn't just morally wrong - it's bad economics," Mr Obama was to say, according to advance remarks.