News / USA

Obama Midwest Bus Tour Focuses on Economy

President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall-style meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, August 15, 2011.
President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall-style meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, August 15, 2011.

President Barack Obama is in the U.S. midwest on what the White House calls an economic bus trip through politically important states as he ramps up campaigning for the 2012 presidential election.  The president faces some new poll numbers reflecting deep worries Americans have about the economy.

At stops across the country,  Obama has frequently said that while Americans voted for divided government in Washington, they did not vote for a "do nothing" government.

He is amplifying this theme on this trip, urging support for balanced solutions to the nation's fiscal woes and contrasting his approach with that the Republicans, particularly those in the conservative Tea Party, took in recent debt and deficit negotiations.

Watch a related report by Kane Farabaugh

In his first stop in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, which was last visited by a president in 1928, Mr. Obama repeated his criticisms of political brinksmanship in Washington.

"We have got a politics, in which some folks in Congress, not the folks who are here, but some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than America win," said President Obama. "We ended up creating more uncertainty and more damage to an economy that was already weak."

The president faced mostly friendly questions from a supportive crowd of about 500.

Obama repeated criticisms of Republicans for their approach in the debt negotiations.  He underscored his position that programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid need to be strengthened, but not radically changed and urged people to pressure Congress.

"You have got to send a message to Washington that it is time for the games to stop, it is time to put country first," said Obama.

The White House said there is no direct link between the president's trip and the recent "straw poll" in Iowa, a Republican preference vote won by Minnesota Congresswoman, and Tea Party lawmaker, Michelle Bachmann.

But President Obama needs to raise support in midwestern states important to his re-election hopes, as Republican presidential candidates step up their attacks on his handling of the economy.

The current Republican front-runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney issued a political video showing Minnesotans, including Joseph Bromley, criticizing the president on the state of the economy. "In the last election, I voted for Barack Obama, and I just feel that I can not [now]," he said.

Campaigning in the northeastern state of New Hampshire, Romney continued to criticize the president's economic policies.

"Twenty-five-million Americans [out of work or underemployed], home values still going down, three years into the president's four-year term, home values going down, record foreclosures," said Romney.

U.S. unemployment remains above the nine-percent mark.  Underscoring American's worries about the economy, a new Gallup Poll shows President Obama's job approval rating at 39 percent, a new low for him, although other presidents have struggled with similar numbers in their first term.

Mr. Obama's schedule included a similar town hall later in the town of Decorah, Iowa.  

On Tuesday, he conducts a rural economic forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, and has two events on in Illinois.

At his appearances on Monday, President Obama pointed to a commentary published Monday in The New York Times by billionaire Warren Buffett, who he consults on economic issues.

Saying the U.S. Congress should "stop coddling the super rich" Buffett called for raising taxes immediately on Americans earning more than $1 million.

In the difficult compromise with Republicans for a debt and deficit, Mr. Obama called for eliminating tax loopholes for wealthy Americans and has called for Congress to extend tax advantages for the middle class.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More