President Obama joined in the administration's hyping of his afternoon speech in Illinois to promote an economic agenda, conceding that after over four years in office, "we've got a long way to go."

The president noted that he visited the same Knox College near Peoria eight years ago to lay out the problems the middle class faced then — and still does today. In a YouTube to his campaign and grassroots group Organizing for Action, he said that he went to Knox "shortly after I was selected to the Senate."

Since becoming president, Obama added, he said his administration has worked to "strengthen middle class security."

"But," he added, "we've got a long way to go. The long-term challenges facing the middle class are still very real and short term thinking in Washington has gotten in the way of doing what's necessary."

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at