Paris attack overtakes Obama's economic push

Obama: Attacks are 'cowardly' and 'evil'
Obama: Attacks are 'cowardly' and 'evil'


    Obama: Attacks are 'cowardly' and 'evil'


Obama: Attacks are 'cowardly' and 'evil' 01:15

Story highlights

  • Obama is pushing economic priorities ahead of State of the Union speech
  • But most media attention is on Paris attack

Phoenix (CNN)President Barack Obama's three day cross country trip, designed to build support for his economic priorities ahead of his State of the Union speech, is being sidelined by the terror attacks in Paris.

Mr. Obama held an unscheduled photo op in the Oval Office before leaving Washington on Wednesday to address the attacks.
And aboard Air Force One on his flight to Detroit, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was peppered with questions like, "With respect to the situation in Paris, does the U.S. have an assessment...on who these gunmen were?" And, "At this point, you can't say whether these gunmen were linked to any terror organization?" And, " the U.S. concerned about any risk here from this group?"
    The economy only came up later.
    Earnest even made a rare second appearance in the press section of Air Force One to advise reporters that the president had called French President Francois Hollande aboard the flight.
    But despite the focus on Paris from much of the national media, once the President arrived in Detroit and Phoenix, he stuck to his message that his policies are responsible for the rebounding U.S. economy and the resurgence of growth in U.S. manufacturing jobs.
    In Phoenix Thursday, he made an unscheduled stop at a housing development where new homes were being built to highlight the uptick in housing prices. And at a speech at the city's Central High School, he focused on that comeback, and steps he is taking to make sure it continues.
    With HUD Secretary Julian Castro by his side, the President even announced a half percent cut in FHA mortgage loan rates to help families. And he said his administration's policies are responsible for the economic turnaround.
    "As a result of all these efforts, today home sales are up 50 percent."
    He said as a result of homes sales coming back, more than a hundred thousand construction jobs have been created and added, "This progress is not an accident. It's what happens when you have policies that put middle class families first."
    However, several reporters from different networks were still emailing the press secretary late Thursday morning to ask if the president would address the French terror crisis in his remarks. He did not.
    At an event with 750 autoworkers at a Ford manufacturing plant in Wayne, Michigan, on Wednesday the President said, "there is no doubt, thanks to the steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and to rebuild it on a new foundation, we are entering into the New Year with new confidence that America is coming back."
    The President added: "that's going to be the focus of my State of the Union address in a couple of weeks -- building on the progress that we've already made."
    Perhaps Friday will be a breakthrough day, as he heads to Knoxville, Tennessee, to talk about expanding higher education opportunities for millions of students.
    He still has two weeks before the State of the Union to make his sales pitch to Americans and then directly to the new Republican led Congress.