WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama still calls shoring up the middle class his "No. 1 priority," but recent events overseas and at home are overshadowing the U.S. economy as a political issue.

WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama still calls shoring up the middle class his "No. 1 priority," but recent events overseas and at home are overshadowing the U.S. economy as a political issue.

The civil war in Syria and alleged use by Damascus of chemical weapons, political turmoil in Egypt and revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs are complicating Obama's efforts to keep the focus on the economy.

And while the slow and uneven recovery is now 4 years old, its advance could be threatened by U.S.-led airstrikes against targets in Syria that might send already rising oil prices soaring.

The eclipsing of the U.S. recovery by other pressing events could be a factor in next year's midterm election campaigns and in the presidential contests two years later.