President Obama got all populist in Kansas yesterday, in a speech designed to hark back to Teddy Roosevelt (who gave his New Nationalism Speech there in 1910). "This isn’t about class warfare," he said while trying to explain in Occupy-friendly language how his views differ economically from the Republican party. "This is about the nation’s welfare."

"Osawatomie," he said in front of a crowd of 1,200 there, "this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement."

The clearly campaigning President couched his speech in broad historical terms, reviewing how we got here, bashing the "house of cards" that collapsed in 2008 ("It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we’re still fighting to recover.") and trying to explain why his platform—especially extending the payroll tax cut because "If we don’t do that, 160 million Americans, including most of the people here, will see their taxes go up by an average of $1,000 starting in January and it would badly weaken our recovery."—is relavent as we go into another election year. "This country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share and when everyone plays by the same rules," he said.

The whole 55-minute speech tried pretty hard to be an old-school Obama barn burner. You can read it here, or watch it below. Or you can wait a few hours and see how the GOP machine decides to regurgitate it.

So how was the speech taken? Well, not surprisingly the MSNBC set dug it, the Times editorial board were fans (even if it felt "an awfully long time in coming"), at least one pundit says Obama is now more Taft than Roosevelt and the Nation wonders if Obama really is embracing populism or just using his words.