Obama Pushes Economic Policy on Midwest Bus Tour

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 2:50 am (UTC-5)
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President Barack Obama is continuing a bus tour of the U.S. Midwest to explain his economic policy, as he pushes back against criticism that he is not doing enough to spur the economy and address high unemployment.

Mr. Obama is set to attend a rural economic forum Tuesday in the state of Iowa, a day after speaking with residents there and in the state of Minnesota.

The president said Monday he plans to present Congress with a plan to boost the nation's ailing economy when lawmakers return to work next month. Mr. Obama has called for Congress to extend payroll tax cuts, act on trade bills and pass measures to create construction jobs.

Iowa has been a political focus in recent days, following a Saturday poll that showed the state's favorites among Republican presidential candidates for next year's election.

Republicans say Mr. Obama is doing little to pump life into the ailing U.S. economy, and have criticized him for ballooning U.S. deficits.

Mr. Obama on Monday criticized the Republican candidates for saying they would avoid increasing taxes to address the nation's debt, saying that stance is “not common sense.” He also said the American people have no patience for political gamesmanship in Congress, and challenged opposition Republicans to compromise on an economic agenda.

The president is on the road after spending much of the summer in Washington caught up in bitterly partisan negotiations on the debt crisis that hurt his approval ratings and also those of members of Congress.

Mr. Obama said the nation's biggest challenge is putting people to work and that everyone needs to “do a little bit more to get this country back on track.”

The president's bus tour comes with unemployment at more than 9 percent and a new Gallup poll giving him a 39 percent job approval rating. The White House says participants at the town halls include business owners, families and farm groups.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama will be in his home state of Illinois.