President Obama Invokes Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas Speech

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

President Barack Obama speaks on the economy and an extension of the payroll tax cut at Osawatomie High School December 6, 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. President Obama speaks on the economy in Osawatomie, Kansas. (Mandel Ngan/Getty)

President Obama called for a shoring up of the country's middle class and criticized the concentration of wealth in the U.S. during a speech Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas. The town was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's famous "New Nationalism" speech, which, a century earlier touched upon many of the same themes as President Obama's address. But Obama's speech comes on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the GOP Primary, and the inception of his 2012 presidential campaign.

How relevant is Roosevelt's 100-year-old "New Nationalism" message? And what did President Obama's invocation of it tell us about how he plans to cast his 2012 reelection campaign?

Douglas Brinkley is professor of history at Rice University and author of the "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America." Anna Sale is reporter for our co-producer WNYC and their politics website, It's a Free Country.

Comments [2]


How can a President who with his party quadrupled the deficit claim just before yet another extended vacation that he cares about the middle class who gets to pay for all of it including the Hawaiian vacation?
He could do it if he thinks the public including his supporters are stupid.
What would TR say about a 15 trillion dollar debt?

Dec. 07 2011 10:40 AM

Wow the Obama campaign is already doing such large commercial ad buys, before the republicans even have a candidate. Wonder what it costs to purchase a fifteen minute commercial on public radio.

Dec. 07 2011 10:18 AM

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