Alex Witt   |  July 28, 2013

Obama: Second-term focus now on economy

President Barack Obama talks candidly to the New York Times. NBC's Kristen Welker reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in a new york times interview with president obama says he is vowed to focus on the economic, and he says that an inequality is fraying the social fabric and understood mining america's opportunities.

>> what i learned profoundly in the crisis is that the ground under my feet is just not secure and the work i'm doing may not be rewarded and everything that i'm proposing and everything that i have and will be proposing over the next three years goes right at that issue.

>> the president noted that the economy is far stronger than four years ago, but added that many people don't feel secure about their future, and so now we will go to the white house and kristen welker in her post there, and kristen with a good sunday to you, and what more is the president saying in the interview?

>> well, alex , good sunday to you as well. president obama continuing to sell the message on the economy with the interview with "the new york times" and he basically argued that if his policies are not enacted the recovery will continue to be tepid. he went so far as to say that racial tensions could get worse, and so he is calling for things that we have heard him call for before, and investing in things like infrastructure and early education, and health care , and he also slammed republicans for what he has called their austerity approach to deal with the budget, and the republicans have called for domestic spending and repealing president obama 's health care law , and now if you look at the latest polling though, alex , the latest msnbc/" wall street journal " poll shows that a majority of the americans disapprove of president obama 's handling of the economy and that made for tough questions for treasury secretary jack lew who defended the president's record to dday on "meet the press" and the the republicans fanned out to slam the president's record and take a look at both sides.

>> i'm saying that the core of the economy is growing and i'm saying that we need to do more and the president has laid out a vision of things that we need to do and we need to get outside of the inside washington debate about who is winning and who is losing and deal with the challenges that the middle-class families want us to deal with.

>> the fact is that if you want to help the middle-class the best thing you can do is to limit the government's profile and not expand it. obama care is one of the many examples of it and why we need to move away from the law which is going to be bad for the middle-class.

>> alex , a number of budget battles on the horizon coming up for this fall, and chief among them of course the debt ceiling and the republicans saying that they won't increase the debt ceiling unless it is offset with equal amount of spending cuts, and president obama saying that he will not negotiate on that issue, and the president hits the road tuesday and heads to chattanooga, tennessee, where he will talk about the economy.

>> where he plans to do once a week going forward. thank you, kristen and we will see you next hour.

>>> joining me now is reporter for the " washington post " david