President Barack Obama vowed on Thursday he would not rest until U.S. businesses were hiring again, as he took his recast agenda on the road and sought to dig out of his deepest political rut since taking office.

The day after a State of the Union address in which he tried to reconnect with the public with a hard focus on the economy, Obama went to Florida where he unveiled $8 billion in grants for high-speed rail projects the White House says will create employment and transform U.S. train travel.

With his poll numbers down and his presidency faltering after his first year, Obama told a friendly audience at a town hall-style meeting that he understood the economic pain they were feeling because of double-digit unemployment.


Underscoring the message delivered in his State of the Union speech, he said jobs growth would be his top priority.

“We’re not going to rest until we’ve rebuilt an economy in which hard work and responsibility are rewarded and businesses are hiring again and wages are growing again and the middle class can get its legs underneath it again,” Obama said at the University of Tampa.

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