U.S. President Barack Obama says his "entire agenda" is focused on boosting the economy and creating jobs, but he acknowledges that the United States has been making "painfully slow" progress in recovering from the recession.

Speaking at a White House news conference Friday, Mr. Obama said his policies are aimed at helping the middle class.  And he accused opposition Republicans of favoring the rich and seeking a return to policies that he said caused the recession.

Polls show majority Democrats in Congress could face devastating losses in the November election.  In his remarks, Mr. Obama portrayed Democrats as warriors for the hard-pressed middle class and Republicans as protectors of millionaires and special interests.

The president also criticized Republicans for holding up a bill in the Senate intended to help small businesses get tax breaks and loans so they can expand and hire new workers.

Earlier this week, Mr. Obama called for expanded tax breaks for businesses doing research and development or investing in new equipment.  He also advocates continuing tax cuts for the middle class, but ending tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans say the president's economic policies have added hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit but have failed to cut the 9.6 percent unemployment rate.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.