President Barack Obama put a spotlight on rising income inequality in a major economic speech on Wednesday, arguing that the disparity is poses a "fundamental threat" to the American dream.

Marshaling both the recent papal exhortation by Pope Francis and a flurry of statistics reflecting a growing income gap between the wealthiest Americans and most others, Obama urged Washington to adopt policies to address the economic divide. 

"The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe," Obama said at a speech in Washington, D.C. hosted by the progressive think tank Center for American Progress.

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