- (Photo: Reuters / Jason Reed)
President Obama will be kicking off a Midwest bus tour in Cannon Falls, Minnesota according to a statement released by the White House on Monday.
The president will kick off his three-day Midwest tour in Cannon Falls, a small town that has not seen a sitting President in decades. The last American president to visit the small town was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
The White House has said of Obama’s bus tour, “The president is traveling around the Midwest to stress the vital role rural America plays in ensuring the growth of our economy, the affordability of our food, the independence of energy supply, and the strength of our communities.”
The tour will take Obama across cities and towns in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.
Iowa is a particularly important state to President Obama, as that was the first state Obama won in the first democratic nomination for the presidency against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama’s principal deputy press secretary told reporters on Friday of the tour, “This isn’t just an appropriate thing for a president to do, it’s something that a president should do.”
Political analysts argue that the bus tour will inevitably hit “potholes” including the public’s fears of a double-dip recession and concerns over a fickle and volatile stock market.
Other challenges Obama faces on the road for easing Midwest anxiety about the economy include the recent debt ceiling debacle that resulted in both domestic and international outcry, the U.S. credit downgrade, high levels of unemployment, and the reported low levels of manufacturing output.
Some of Obama’s political opponents are using his tour as an opportunity to belittle the foundation of his Midwest excursion arguing that it is little more than a futile public relations attempt to garner political support in key swing states for the 2012 presidential nomination.
Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination wrote on his website, “During his Magical Misery bus tour this week, it is unlikely President Obama will speak will unemployed Americans, to near-bankrupt business owners, or to families struggling to survive in this economy.”
Romney’s web statement continued with, “He is more interested in campaigning in swing states than working to solve the economic crisis that is crushing the middle class.”
The tour follows this past weekend's Republican Ames straw poll in Iowa and the release of a daily Gallup poll that suggests that Obama is at his lowest approval rating since he assumed his presidential post in 2009.