Obama pledges 'bold' ideas to help US middle class

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Monday pledged to unveil "bold" ideas to help America's struggling middle class as part of a fresh offensive to boost the economy.

Speaking to members of the Organizing for Action (OFA) group, the US leader previewed speeches on the economy he is due to make later this week.

Obama said the addresses will kick off "several months of us trying to get Washington and the press to refocus on the economy, and the struggles middle class families are going through."

The speeches would also be a platform "to start exploring some big and bold ideas, some of which I've offered in the past, some of which will be new."

Five years after the economic meltdown that preceded his victory in the 2008 election, things had "changed for the better," Obama said.

"The ground beneath our feet is a little firmer than it was, but we've got a long way to go before middle class families feel secure," he added.

Obama will speak in Missouri on Wednesday and Florida on Thursday to outline the measures he hopes will boost the middle class.

Obama has regularly traversed the country to rally support for his vision of the US economy, in which the government would collect more taxes from the wealthy and corporations to invest in infrastructure improvements, education and clean energy.

But his plans have been stymied by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives since 2011, as his opponents have accused him of neglecting the free market in favour of big government programs.

Obama acknowledged the gridlock in Washington on Monday and called on his supporters to step up pressure on their elected representatives to act.

"Things still get stuck here in Washington, that's why I'm going to need your help," he said.

"I've got a little over 1,200 days left in office. I'm going to spend every waking minute of every one of those days thinking about, and then acting upon any good ideas out there that can help ordinary Americans succeed."