Obama Rolls Through US South, Blasting Congress

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is rolling up his sleeves and hitting the road for the second day, trying to galvanize voters in support of his $447-billion jobs bill.

Mr. Obama is set to travel through more of the southern state of North Carolina before heading to neighboring Virginia, stopping and talking to residents along the way.

Mr. Obama won both states during the 2008 presidential election and both are considered important to his re-election chances next year.

The president spent day one of his three-day tour criticizing opposition Republican lawmakers, who have blocked efforts to pass his jobs legislation.

At a stop in Asheville, North Carolina, Mr. Obama mocked congressional Republicans, saying “maybe they can not understand the whole thing at once so we are going to break it up into bite-sized pieces.” Mr. Obama told voters that by blocking the jobs bill, Republicans “said no to you.”

Former Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, Monday unleashed his own criticism of the president for using taxpayer money for what McCain described as political campaigning.

Last week, Republicans in the Senate blocked consideration of the entire jobs bill, arguing that it contained wasteful provisions and tax increases that actually will lead to the loss of jobs.

Among the provisions in the legislation the Senate is likely to consider soon is one that would give states about $35 billion to hire more teachers, police and firefighters. Passage of the measure is not certain.

Mr. Obama said the next measure that he wants lawmakers to consider is infrastructure spending to improve roads, bridges and airports.

“There is no reason,” the president said, ” why we should sit here and watch the best highways and the newest airports being built in China.”

The Republicans are proposing their own jobs plan and a senior Republican senator has suggested that Republicans and Democrats should meet together to see if they could “find a breakthrough.”