Just after Republicans leave the critical presidential election state of Iowa over the weekend, President Barack Obama will make his own sweep through the state as part of a Midwest bus tour focused on creating jobs and boosting the economies of rural America.
The trip has attracted its fair share of criticism from the White House press corps who have questioned whether it’s simply a taxpayer-funded campaign spring through the upper Midwest, a pivotal swing region that could play a crucial role in determining whether Obama wins a second term.Since the White House first announced the bus tour, spokesmen have argued that the President has every right to tour the country and interact with voters — er — Americans. The bus-tour aspect will just make it easier for him to travel to rural venues and talk face-to-face with people, they’ve said.
Don’t expect any major economic or policy speeches. Instead, Obama will be holding several town hall style events, a looser, interactive communications forum he used during his 2008 campaign with great success. Obama will hold four town halls during his tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois beginning Monday and ending Wednesday, the largest, a Rural Economic Forum, will take place in Peosta, Iowa Tuesday.
“The President is excited about getting out of Washington — during the debt ceiling he was trapped here,” said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. The bus tour will give Obama the chance to sit down in rural communities and discuss ways to spur innovation, improve the quality of life in rural American and create economic opportunity, Pfeiffer said.
“The forum is gong to give the President an opportunity to listen and learn as well,” he added.
With polls showing a record level of anger and frustration with Washington and the political gridlock on day-to-day display with the debt talks in July, Obama expects to get an earful from Americans fed up with the inside-the-beltway dysfunction.
“There’s no question that the president was frustrated that there were a small number of people in Congress who were willing to put their party ahead of country,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday.