President Obama Invokes Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas Speech

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President Obama speaks on the economy in Osawatomie, Kansas.
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President Obama called for a shoring up of the country's middle class and criticized the concentration of wealth in the U.S. during a speech Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas. The town was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's famous "New Nationalism" speech, which, a century earlier touched upon many of the same themes as President Obama's address. But Obama's speech comes on the heels of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the GOP Primary, and the inception of his 2012 presidential campaign.

How relevant is Roosevelt's 100-year-old "New Nationalism" message? And what did President Obama's invocation of it tell us about how he plans to cast his 2012 reelection campaign?

Douglas Brinkley is professor of history at Rice University and author of the "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America." Anna Sale is reporter for our co-producer WNYC and their politics website, It's a Free Country.