Why President Obama wanted to get out of D.C. to talk about the economy is not hard to decipher. It’s ground zero of Republican obstructionists.

So Obama left the naysayers behind Wednesday and went to Illinois and Missouri, where he pledged to spend the rest of his time in office fighting to improve the lives of the middle class.

His template is consistent, reasonable and positive: access to quality education from preschool to college, infrastructure upgrades, good-paying jobs, homeownership, secure retirements and affordable health care.

Republican leaders lambasted the president for leaving, saying he should be lobbying lawmakers instead. Please. Republicans have no intention of being lobbied by this president. They are threatening to shut down government with no budget by Oct. 1, followed shortly by another debt ceiling showdown.

Budget disagreements are immense. The Republican House budget plans take a meat cleaver, as Obama said, to his efforts to improve the odds for the middle class, protect the environment and create more secure jobs.

Obama promised to continue to define his effort to lessen inequities and better prepare workers to compete globally in the days ahead. He sounds again like the candidate America elected twice, energized and focused. The onus now shifts to the Republican Party to see whether it can conjure an alternative positive vision.