Political Buzz August 18, 2011: President Obama Calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Resignation — Republicans Approve — Candidates Perry, Romney, Bachmann Criticize Why Obama Waited So Long

 POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: WORLD LEADERS, US PRESIDENT OBAMA, CANADIAN PM HARPER, EUROPE UNION CALL FOR SYRIAN PRESIDENT ASSAD TO RESIGN

Obama calls on Syrian President Assad to resign: President Obama on Thursday for the first time explicitly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a symbolically significant step intended to ratchet up pressure on the government five months after the start of the uprising in that country. The president also issued an executive order expanding sanctions against Syrian government officials.

The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.
The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community. — President Barack Obama

“The Obama Administration’s call for Syrian President Assad to step down is long overdue. President Assad threatens the safety and security not only of the Syrian people, but the entire Middle East. He also supports terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas. Every diplomatic option should be brought to bear to prevent President Assad from wreaking further violence on his people and the region.” — Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Syria

“America must show leadership on the world stage and work to move these developing nations toward modernity. This means using the bullhorn of the presidency and not remaining silent for too long while voices of freedom and dissent are under attack.” — Mitt Romney’s Statement on Syria

“The recent atrocities and Assad’s brutalization of his own people in Syria are extremely alarming and reflect a long history of anti-American hostility, and I join President Obama in calling for Mr. Assad’s resignation.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Statement on Syria

U.S. and European Union Statements on Syria — NYT

  • How the US message on Assad shifted: It took about five months from the start of the Syrian uprising for the Obama administration to make the leap to saying President Assad should “step aside.” Here’s a look back at the long — and deliberate — buildup. … – WaPo, 8-18-11
  • Obama Calls for Syrian President to Step Down: President Obama for the first time on Thursday explicitly called for Bashar al-Assad to leave office, and European leaders followed him with a joint statement…. – NYT, 8-18-11
  • EU Calls On Syria’s Assad To Quit, Mulls Broad Energy Sanctions: The European Union for the first time called Thursday on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power as EU leaders also threatened “strong” new sanctions, which could include an embargo on imports of Syrian … – WSJ, 8-18-11
  • Syria: Assad must resign, says Obama: Bashar al-Assad is guilty of a brutal crackdown that leaves him with no legitimacy as president of Syria, Barack Obama and EU leaders have declared…. – The Guardian, UK, 8-18-11
  • Harper calls on Assad to quit: “Canada reiterates its strong condemnation of the ongoing violent military assault by the Assad regime against the Syrian people. This campaign of terror must stop. “The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy by killing its own people to stay in power.”… – National Post, 8-18-11
  • Canada calls for Syria’s Assad to resign: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday joined the United States and the European Union in calling for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power. “Canada reiterates its strong condemnation of the ongoing violent military assault … – AFP, 8-18-11
  • Obama Calls For Syrian President To Resign: President Obama called on Thursday for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, marking the first time the US has demanded the leader’s resignation…. – Slate Magazine, 8-18-11
  • Obama almost wins over Hill on Syria: President Barack Obama almost caught a break on Capitol Hill Thursday, picking up bipartisan support for calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign. But still one complaint of the president emerged: What took him so long? … – Politico, 8-18-11
  • Republicans agree, briefly, with Obama on Syria: It looked like it might never happen again. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has done the near-impossible: He got Republicans and President Obama to agree on something.
    After Obama demanded Thursday morning that Assad step down in the wake of his crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, some of the president’s fiercest critics jumped aboard with their own calls for Assad’s removal. That’s where the harmony ended.
    Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry also used the occasion to chide Obama for not having called for the ouster sooner…. – WaPo, 8-18-11
  • Why it took so long for Obama to say Syria’s Assad must go: Obama’s call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign was a long time coming. The US president didn’t wait as long after protests broke out in Egypt to say that Hosni Mubarak had to go…. – CS Monitor, 8-18-11
  • Obama finally tells Assad to go: After months of criticism for his inactivity from both sides of the political spectrum and international human rights groups President Obama today finally managed to call for Bashar al-Assad to leave…. – WaPo, 8-18-11
  • Romney hits Obama over Syria: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lambasted President Barack Obama’s leadership Thursday saying his call for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down comes after too much blood has been shed in the country. … – CNN, 8-18-11
  • Perry: Obama overdue in call for Assad to quit: Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry says President Obama’s call for the resignation of the Syrian president is long overdue. The Texas governor says Syrian President Bashar Assad supports terrorist groups and has threatened the security of the Syrian people and the region. He says that every diplomatic option should be used to force Assad to step down…. – AP, 8-18-11
  • Bachmann criticizes Obama’s action on Syria: Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said Thursday that President Barack Obama has moved too late and with too little force in response to Syria’s crackdown on dissent… – AP, 8-18-11
  • Report: U.S. to seek Assad’s ouster: President Barack Obama made the first explicit US call Thursday for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave his post, saying the “time has come” for the leader to step aside for “the sake of the Syrian people.” The White House also imposed tough new sanctions… Politico, 8-18-11
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Full Text International Politics August 18, 2011: President Obama’s Statement Calling on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to Resign

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: WORLD LEADERS, US PRESIDENT OBAMA, CANADIAN PM HARPER, EUROPE UNION CALL FOR SYRIAN PRESIDENT ASSAD TO RESIGN

Obama calls on Syrian President Assad to resign: President Obama on Thursday for the first time explicitly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a symbolically significant step intended to ratchet up pressure on the government five months after the start of the uprising in that country. The president also issued an executive order expanding sanctions against Syrian government officials.

Statement by President Obama on the Situation in Syria

The United States has been inspired by the Syrian peoples’ pursuit of a peaceful transition to democracy. They have braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government. They have spoken with their peaceful marches, their silent shaming of the Syrian regime, and their courageous persistence in the face of brutality – day after day, week after week. The Syrian government has responded with a sustained onslaught. I strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir al Zour, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime. These violations of the universal rights of the Syrian people have revealed to Syria, the region, and the world the Assad government’s flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people.

The United States opposes the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Syria, and we support the universal rights of the Syrian people. We have imposed sanctions on President Assad and his government.  The European Union has imposed sanctions as well.  We helped lead an effort at the UN Security Council to condemn Syria’s actions. We have coordinated closely with allies and partners from the region and around the world. The Assad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the globe, and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.

The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people.  We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way.  He has not led.  For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.

The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community.

As a part of that effort, my Administration is announcing unprecedented sanctions to deepen the financial isolation of the Assad regime and further disrupt its ability to finance a campaign of violence against the Syrian people.  I have signed a new Executive Order requiring the immediate freeze of all assets of the Government of Syria subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria.  This E.O. also bans U.S. imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products; prohibits U.S. persons from having any dealings in or related to Syria’s petroleum or petroleum products; and prohibits U.S. persons from operating or investing in Syria. We expect today’s actions to be amplified by others.

We recognize that it will take time for the Syrian people to achieve the justice they deserve. There will be more struggle and sacrifice. It is clear that President Assad believes that he can silence the voices of his people by resorting to the repressive tactics of the past. But he is wrong. As we have learned these last several months, sometimes the way things have been is not the way that they will be. It is time for the Syrian people to determine their own destiny, and we will continue to stand firmly on their side.

 

FACT SHEET ON SYRIA

The United States has taken a series of steps and actions to work toward putting an end to the Syrian government’s violence, arrests, and torture, supporting the Syrian people’s universal rights, and pushing for a democratic transition.

Executive Orders, Sanctions, and other Financial Actions

Syria has been designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism since December 1979.  An additional layer of sanctions was added in May 2004 with the issuance of Executive Order 13338, which implemented the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 and imposed additional measures pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  Subsequent Executive orders have imposed additional sanctions targeting, among others, the President of Syria.

Since the beginning of Syrian unrest, we have intensely pursued targeted financial measures to increase pressure on the Syrian regime.  We have specifically targeted those responsible for human rights abuses, senior officials of the Syrian government, and Syrian businessmen linked to the Syrian regime.  Our goal is to put an immediate stop to the Syrian government’s use of violence against civilians and its policies of mass arrests and torture, and to pressure the Syrian regime to allow for a democratic transition as per the demands of the Syrian people.  Our actions to date include:

  • Today, President Obama signed a new Executive Order taking additional steps pursuant to the national emergency with respect to Syria that blocks the property of the Syrian government, bans U.S. persons from new investments in or exporting services to Syria, and bans U.S. imports of, and other transactions or dealings in, Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products.  This is the strongest financial action we have taken against the Syrian regime thus far.  This Executive Order is consistent with the remaining sanctions provisions of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act.
  • Since the unrest began in mid-March, we have designated 32 Syrian and Iranian individuals and entities, including Syrian businessmen and their companies.  These actions freeze the assets of and prohibit all U.S. persons from doing business with the identified individual or entity, thereby isolating them from the U.S. financial system.
  • On August 10, pursuant to E.O. 13382, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Commercial Bank of Syria for its involvement in proliferation activities, and also designated its subsidiary, Syrian-Lebanese Commercial Bank.  The Commercial Bank of Syria was identified by the Treasury Department as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern in 2004 and, pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, has been subject since 2006 to a final rule prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from maintaining correspondent accounts for the Commercial Bank of Syria.
  • On July 8, the Treasury Department issued a warning to U.S. financial institutions alerting them to the potential for increased illicit financial activities involving accounts held by or on behalf of senior political figures in Syria, as a result of the unrest in Syria.
  • On May 18, President Obama signed Executive Order 13573 targeting senior Syrian government officials due to their government’s continuing escalation of violence against the Syrian people.  President Assad and six other regime officials were listed in the Annex to this Order.
  • On May 18, the Department of Commerce suspended specific licenses related to Syrian Air’s Boeing 747 aircraft.
  • On April 29, President Obama signed Executive Order 13572 imposing sanctions on certain individuals and entities listed in the Annex to the Order and providing the authority to designate persons responsible for human rights abuses in Syria, including those related to repressing the Syrian people. Notably, President Assad’s brother Maher al-Asad and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) were listed in the Annex to this Order.
  • On April 29, the Department of Commerce revoked commercial export licenses pertaining to Syrian official VIP aircraft.

Actions at the United Nations and Other Diplomatic Efforts

The United States has led an international effort at the United Nations (UN) to push for a UN Security Council Resolution that would increase pressure on the Syrian government to stop its brutal repression of the Syrian people.  Additional actions taken include:

  • On August 3, with strong U.S. leadership, the UN Security Council adopted by consensus a Presidential Statement condemning the Syrian government’s widespread human rights abuses and use of force against civilians.
  • The United States worked with allies to ensure that, after a protracted diplomatic struggle and in the face of significant opposition from the Syrian regime and other non-democratic governments, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted UN accreditation on July 25 to the Syrian non-governmental organization the Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.  This was the first Syrian NGO ever to receive ECOSOC accreditation, which allows it to attend and take part in UN events.
  • On July 22, the State Department imposed travel restrictions on the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C., in response to Syrian efforts to restrict the movement of U.S. diplomats in Damascus.  Syrian diplomats now must request permission prior to leaving Washington, D.C.
  • On June 15 in Geneva, the United States and Canada drafted a statement signed by 54 UN member states that addressed the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria and urged the Syrian government to allow access to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ fact finding mission.
  • The United States led the call for a Special Session on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. On April 29, the Human Rights Council passed a strong resolution condemning the Syrian government and calling for an investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  To date, Syria has refused access to the High Commissioner’s investigative team, despite calls from the Security Council and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  • The United States actively lobbied to prevent Syria from being elected to the UN Human Rights Council.  Our lobbying efforts against Syria’s offensive campaign resulted in Syria withdrawing its candidacy on May 11.

Political Buzz August 15-17, 2011: Recap — President Obama’s 3 Day Economic Bus Tour in the Midwest; Minnesota, Iowa & Illinois

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a town hall
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 8/17/11

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S 3 DAY ECONOMIC BUS TOUR IN THE MIDWEST; MINNESOTA, IOWA, & ILLINOIS

President Obama to Travel to Minnesota, Begin Three-Day Economic Bus Tour: On Monday August 15th, the President will travel to Minnesota to begin his three-day economic bus tour in the Midwest. After arriving in Minnesota, the President will host a town hall event in Cannon Falls, Minnesota at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park.
The economic bus tour will also feature events in Iowa including a Rural Economic Forum in Peosta as well as events in western Illinois. While in the Midwest, the President will discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation and hear directly from Americans, including small business owners, local families, private sector leaders, rural organizations, and government o fficials. The President knows we must do everything we can to promote economic growth, restore confidence in our nation’s future and enhance the sense of optimism for future generations. — White House Press Release, 8-11-11

“What is needed is action by Congress. It’s time for the games to stop. It’s time to put country first.” — President Barack Obama in Cannon Falls, Minn

“Obviously, with the markets going up and down last week and this downgrade, a lot of folks were feeling a little anxious and distressed and feeling like, boy, we’ve been working so hard over the last two and a half years to get this economy back out of recession, and some folks worry that we might be slipping back. I want all of you to understand: There is nothing that we’re facing that we can’t solve with some spirit of America first; a willingness to say, we’re going to choose party — we’re going to choose country over party, we’re going to choose the next generation over the next election.” — President Barack Obama

“Creating jobs and economic opportunity in rural America is a priority for the Obama administration, and the White House Rural Council has used an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to leverage resources across the federal government to achieve that goal.” — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

“He is doing what Presidents do, which is go out in the country and engage with the American people. To suggest that any time the President leaves Washington it’s a political trip would mean that Presidents could never leave unless they were physically campaigning on their own behalf, and he’s not. He’s out here doing his job.” — Press Secretary Jay Carney

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

 

THE HEADLINES….

DAY 3

 

  • Obama to Press Committee on Jobs: President Obama will deliver a major address soon after Labor Day seeking to pressure a special Congressional committee to propose new measures to promote job creation as well as larger long-term deficit cuts than mandated … – NYT, 8-17-11
  • Obama to issue new proposals on job creation, debt reduction: President Obama plans to make a major speech in early September laying out new proposals for job creation and taming the federal debt, according to the White House. … – WaPo, 8-17-11
  • Obama set to go beyond $1.5 trln budget cuts-official: US President Barack Obama is preparing a detailed deficit-cutting plan that goes beyond the $1.5 trillion target a congressional committee is aiming for, White House officials said on Wednesday. … – Reuters, 8-17-11
  • Obama’s jobs package may include school renovations and a tax break for hiring: The president’s proposal would mean construction work and an incentive for businesses to add employees. It’s expected to come with a plan to reduce federal budget deficits…. – LAT, 8-17-11
  • Obama’s Job No. 1: Create jobs: Democrats are finally up for a fight — with President Obama. Having despaired that Obama gave in to the Tea Party on the debt deal, they now criticize him as too cautious in his proposals to boost American jobs. … – WaPo, 8-17-11
  • Obama turns focus to job creation: President Barack Obama isn’t on the panel tasked with slashing the national debt — but he hopes to help set the supercommittee’s agenda by presenting members with a limited but substantial new spending measure to create jobs. … – Politico, 8-17-11
  • Obama still wants taxes on the table: When he outlines a plan to boost the economy in what’s being described as a major speech after Labor Day, President Barack Obama is also expected to unveil a proposal to reduce the nation’s debt…. – AP, 8-17-11
  • President Weighs Asking Panel for Stimulus Measures: President Barack Obama is considering recommending that lawmakers on a deficit committee back new measures to stimulate the lagging economy, people familiar with White House discussions said Tuesday. … – WSJ, 8-16-11
  • Obama bus tour provides glimpse of reelection strategy: During a three-day tour by bus of the Midwest, President Obama provided an early snapshot of his reelection strategy, one in which he’ll try to convince voters that his approach offers the rational path and seek to define Republicans as so unwilling to compromise they would risk financial chaos.
    And despite alarming levels of unemployment and a volatile market, the president has also revived a theme from his first campaign — optimism — in a manner that paints Republicans as cynical and disinterested in solutions…. – LAT, 8-17-11
  • Obama previews campaign?: In tour, he revived theme from his first campaign: Optimism in US amid GOP cynicism. President Obama on Wednesday jumped onto the stage in Atkinson, Ill., where he said: “I need you to send a message to folks in Washington: It’s time to put country first…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8-17-11
  • Obama slogan should channel Larry the Cable Guy: We know what to do – I’ll be putting forward specific plan in September to boost the economy. My attitude is get it done – if they don’t get it done, I’ll be running against Congress not doing anything for the American people. … – Chicago Tribune, 8-17-11
  • Obama’s three-day jobs tour: Did he connect with rural America?: Obama’s three-day bus tour of the Midwest wrapped up in front of mostly friendly audiences in small rural Illinois communities. The president talked of jobs, political pledges, and county fairs… – CS Monitor, 8-17-11
  • Far From Capital, Obama Still Finds Its Woes: It has been like that across the Midwest this week, where the president wrapped up his three-day bus tour in two Illinois farm hamlets: the welcome mat was out, but the mood was somber. Even here, in the state where he began his political career and makes his home, Mr. Obama got tough questions from people who said they were fearful about their future, frustrated by the paralyzed job market and fed up with a political culture in Washington that produced the debt-ceiling imbroglio…. – NYT, 8-17-11
  • Obama Wraps Up Bus Tour in Illinois: In Iowa on Tuesday he spoke with local business owners and farmers, and encouraged supporters to send a message to Washington and say it is time to put country first. Mitt Romney spoke on Tuesday and criticized the President…. – 9&10 News, 8-17-11
  • Obama wraps up bus tour in Illinois today: In this small Illinois farming community not far from the Iowa border, a shiny new fire station being built is testament to the stimulus plan that the Obama administration hoped would rescue the nation’s economy.
    The construction job, which won a $1.3 million grant, was the kind of project the White House thought would create jobs in small towns across the nation, all the better if the locals gave Obama a little of the credit.
    In the midst of a political storm over the state of the economy on his watch, Obama will find out if that’s the case when he holds one of two Illinois town halls in the community Wednesday as he wraps up a three-cay, campaign-style bus tour in the Midwest. The town of 1,000 is rolling out the red carpet for him by lining parts of its main thoroughfares with more than 900 donated American flags…. – Chicago Tribune, 8-17-11
  • President Wraps Up Bus Tour in Illinois: President Obama is now back in Washington and in vacation mode as he wrapped up his three-day Midwest bus tour in Illinois…. – WIFR, 8-17-11
  • Obama talks estate tax at final bus tour stop: The final stop on President Obama’s three-state Midwest bus tour was at the Country Corner Farm Market in the small town of Alpha, Illinois. The president was roughly an hour behind schedule due mostly to a visit with the Galesburg High School football team… – CNN, 8-17-11
  • Obama visits Illinois fair as bus tour rolls on: President Barack Obama has gotten off the bus for another surprise stop in the Midwest – this time, at a county fair.
    The president was making a quick visit Wednesday morning at the Whiteside County Fair in northwest Illinois, a local celebration that has been taking place for more than 140 years…. – AP, 8-17-11
  • Obama’s Warm Welcome in the Midwest Stands in Stark Contrast to Road Ahead: President Obama spent the last three days traveling throughout the Midwest promoting his proposals to get the economy moving again and telling Americans that he shares their frustration with partisan gridlock in Washington…. – ABC News, 8-17-11
  • ‘Ground Force One’ Makes Its Midwest Debut With Obama: As President Obama sets off on the last day of his three-day road trip across the Midwest, his high-tech, black, armored bus has become a familiar presence on the highways and byways here…. – NYT, 8-17-11

    DAY 2

  • Obama works to connect with Midwesterners: On the second day of his Midwestern economic tour, President Obama bussed through the idyllic landscapes of rural Iowa and came armed with several measures he said would boost the economy here…. – WaPo, 8-16-11
  • Day Two for Obama’s “Non-Political” Tour: White House officials had insisted that President Obama’s current bus trip through the Midwest would be non-political, designed to harvest impressions about America’s mood and allow him to explain his agenda…. – U.S. News & World Report, 8-16-11
  • Obama visits Midwest on bus tour: President Obama’s motorcade heads to Guttenberg, Iowa, for a breakfast stop. He is on a three-day, economy-oriented bus tour…. – USA Today, 8-16-11
  • Obama Getting Favorable Weather, Crowds on Midwest Tour: President Obama is waking up in Iowa this morning, hoping for more great weather, more friendly crowds and plenty of press coverage. So far, he’s getting his wish…. – FOX 9 News
  • Obama lauds rural America, announces growth initiatives in Iowa: On the second day of his Midwestern economic tour, President Obama spoke less about the particulars of policy and more about what Washington could learn from rural America…. – WaPo, 8-16-11
  • Obama works to connect with Midwesterners: On the second day of his Midwestern economic tour, President Obama bussed through the idyllic landscapes of rural Iowa and came armed with several measures he said would boost the economy here. … – WaPo, 8-16-11
  • Obama Continues Bus Tour In Iowa: As President Barack Obama continues his bus tour in Iowa, he’s seeking input from people directly affected by the tough economy. The president reassured farmers, businessmen and others taking part in an economic forum at Northeast Iowa…. – KCCI Des Moines, 8-16-11
  • In Iowa, Obama seeks ideas for jolting economy: President Barack Obama on Tuesday implored Iowans to share ideas with him about how leaders can give an economic jolt to the nation’s heartland. He promised better days in a time of relentless joblessness…. – Kansas City Star, 8-16-11
  • President Obama’s Iowa trip had feel of campaigning: With a back-drop of straw bales, a John Deere tractor and cowboy hats, President Barack Obama gave a healthy dose of campaign speak at rural economic forum Tuesday in Peosta, Iowa…. – KSDK, 8-16-11
  • Obama dares Republicans to block his coming jobs package: The president, visiting the Midwest, pledges to send Congress a plan in September and challenges Republicans to block it. Not all Democrats are comfortable with his hard-line stance…. – LAT, 8-17-11
  • Obama, 2012 Republicans clash on jobs: President Barack Obama has told Republicans to stop playing games that hurt the US economy, but his foes mocked his “Magical Misery” tour by bus through key Midwest swing states. Reeling from one of the bleakest patches of his crisis-strewn presidency, Obama on Monday boarded his new $1.1 million Secret Service armored bus for a three-day, three-state bus trip at a time of deep national gloom over the economy…. – AFP, 8-16-11
  • Obama tour a long way from ‘hope and change’ as he attacks Congress: “Frustration and bitterness” doesn’t exactly have the same ring as “hope and change,” but nonetheless it’s the message US President Barack Obama is hammering home on a swing through the Midwest that’s being derided as a taxpayer-funded campaign trip…. – Winnipeg Free Press, 8-16-11
  • Tea party, GOP lash out at Obama business plans: President Barack Obama’s reception in the Hawkeye State has been a mixed bag, as he travels across rural Iowa announcing different business-related growth initiatives specific to the state’s rural and farming … – Iowa Independent, 8-16-11
  • Iowa Republicans/Obama find something to agree on: A trade deal: Several key Iowa Republicans agree on at least one goal outlined by President Obama: A trade deal with South Korea. Obama broadly spoke about trade agreements but didn’t specifically mention the South Korea trade deal. However, it is one he supports … – DesMoines Register, 8-16-11
  • Obama Support Among White Voters Slumps: President Barack Obama’s Midwest trip this week has allowed him to address a central challenge for his reelection: His popularity has slumped among white voters—particularly young, poor and working-class…. – WSJ, 8-16-11
  • bus tour panned: This is what happens when a middle-aged rocker goes out on the road with no new material. Hecklers show up. Reviewers slam him. He gets irritable. And so too with President Obama: His Midwest bus tour is bombing. … – WaPo, 8-16-11
  • Midwest economy’s shine is wearing thin: As President Obama stumps his jobs message across the Midwest this week, he is encountering a regional economy that has lost some of its post-recession luster…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8-16-11
  • Obama preaches compromise in the Midwest: As he travels past the farms, churches and corner stores of rural America, President Obama is crystallizing the differences between his style of government and those of the Republicans who want to replace him…. – USA Today, 8-16-11
  • Pres. Obama: “Ultimately the buck stops with me. I’m going to be accountable.”: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer sat down with President Barack Obama today in Peosta, Iowa. In this one-on-one interview, on the second day of the president’s bus tour across the Midwest, Blitzer and the president discussed a variety of topics from domestic to foreign policy…. – CNN, 8-16-11
  • Obama strikes realist tone in CNN interview: President Barack Obama acknowledged Tuesday that he may be a one-term president if voters’ patience with the pace of the economic recovery runs out by next November. “The mess has been bigger than a lot of people anticipated at the time,” Obama said…. – Politico, 8-16-11
  • Iowa no easy harvest for Obama in 2012: Once, Iowa highlighted Barack Obama’s soaring potential, but now the fabled swing state is a lens for his liabilities and challenges as he begins to ask voters for a second term in the White House…. – AFP, 8-17-11
  • Obama dares Republicans to block his coming jobs package: The president, visiting the Midwest, pledges to send Congress a plan in September and challenges Republicans to block it. Not all Democrats are comfortable with his hard-line stance. President Obama, visiting Decorah, Iowa, as part of his Midwest bus…. – LAT, 8-17-11
  • Obama Presses His Case in Crucial Iowa, but Perry Is Close on His Heels: President Obama pulled up to a bucolic community college here in his $1.1 million black armored bus on Tuesday and spent much of the day closeted in a conference with farmers and small-business owners…. – NYT, 8-17-11
  • His Anger Is a Start: Faced with a divided Congress and an economy in desperate straits, President Obama tried bargaining with Republicans, he tried adopting some of their ideas and he pleaded with them for reasonable policies to help stave off disaster. … – NYT, 8-17-11
  • Obama blasts GOP ‘rigidity’ in CNN interview: President Barack Obama placed the blame for Washington’s current political paralysis squarely at the feet of his Republican opponents Tuesday, telling CNN that the GOP’s “ideological rigidity” is standing in the way of compromises…. – CNN, 8-16-11
  • White House gives Obama big bullhorn and campaign advantages over Republicans: The presidency and all the attention it commands are giving Barack Obama a chance to frame the national story line this week, to try to put his imprint and spin on the economic and political wind shear that has been battering him…. – AP, 8-16-11

    DAY 1

  • The Presidential Planner: Obama Launches Midwest Bus TourABC News, 8-15-11
  • Obama Embarks on Midwest Tour: WSJ, 8-15-11
  • Obama fences, parries at start of Midwestern tour: President Barack Obama’s Midwestern tour is offering a mix of offense and defense that signals both his governing approach for the remainder of his term and the evolution of a campaign message for his re-election bid. … – AP, 8-15-11
  • Obama Tries to Reclaim Momentum With Midwest Bus Tour: For most of the summer, President Obama has been under siege in the White House. On Monday, he became a road warrior, kicking off a three-day bus tour of the Midwest that provided him campaign-style opportunities to strike back at Republicans in a region vital to his re-election. Traveling in a black bus with dark tinted windows and flashing red and blue lights that looked like something out of a “Mad Max” movie, the president urged audiences in Minnesota and Iowa to tell their elected officials they would no longer tolerate the partisan gridlock on display in the recent debt-ceiling talks…. – NYT, 8-15-11
  • Obama Bus Tour – Listening or Campaigning?: While the White House bills it as an opportunity for the president to talk about job growth and economic policy, some say the tour is nothing more than a campaign event. President Obama visited Minnesota and Iowa Monday, part of a three-day bus tour to … OzarksFirst.com, 8-16-11
  • In the Midwest, Obama Grapples for an Economic Fix and a Political Narrative: Barack Obama hit the road Monday for his three-day Midwestern bus tour toting an array of political baggage: a downgraded national credit rating, a faltering economy, a stretch of wild market … – Time, 8-16-11
  • Obama to talk of job creation and economic growth in three day tour: Barack Obama has embarked on a three day bus tour of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota – the three Midwestern states that he will need to carry if he is to win re-election…. – New Statesman, 8-15-11
  • Obama, on tour, declares he has a jobs plan: Pushing back in Iowa against criticism that he’s not standing up to congressional Republicans, the president says he will campaign against lawmakers who refuse to pass his economic package…. – LAT, 8-16-11
  • Obama talks jobs, takes jabs at GOP: President Obama launched the first leg of his three-day bus tour of the Midwest on Monday with a stinging criticism of Republican politics and a wide-ranging promotion of his administration’s efforts to boost the ailing economy. … – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8-16-11
  • President to voters: I’m still the man for the job: With jobs on the minds of most Americans, President Obama is working to keep his on a three day midwest bus tour full of promise, and promises…. – KARE, 8-16-11
  • Obama sets tone for governing, campaigning at beginning of three-day Midwest tour: President Barack Obama’s Midwestern tour is offering a mix of offense and defense that signals both his governing approach for the remainder of his term and the evolution of a campaign message for his re-election bid. … – AP, 8-16-11
  • Obama defends government action in Midwest bus tour: President Obama kicked off a three-day Midwest bus tour Monday by pledging to present Congress with a detailed jobs plan and warned that “if they don’t get it done, then we’ll be running against a Congress that won’t work for the American people.”
    It was the president’s most direct threat to Republicans who control the House and can block action in the Senate against a jobs package that already includes a payroll tax cut, extended unemployment benefits and a new public works program.
    Obama’s heated rhetoric was welcomed at his second town-hall-style meeting of the day, coming after several people asked why he wasn’t being tougher with Congress…. – USA Today, 8-17-11
  • Obama takes heat from Tea Partiers at Iowa town hall: President Obama got a little dose of Tea Party town hall anger on Monday during his three-day tour of the Midwest…. – CBS News, 8-16-11
  • Obama clashes with Tea Party member: President Obama came face-to-face with the Tea Party last night in Iowa, clashing with a member during and after a town hall last night. Ryan Rhodes, a group leader in the Hawkeye State, stood up and shouted a question … – USA Today, 8-16-11
  • Iowa Tea Party organizer interrupts Obama’s event; president shuts him down: Michele Bachmann supporter – stood up and screamed questions to President Obama today after he said the president ignored him. Obama firmly yet calmly told Ryan Rhodes that he can’t speak out of turn. “Sir, hold on a second,” Obama said. … – DesMoines Register, 8-16-11
  • Rick Perry On Obama: ‘We’ve Kind Of Got Competing Job Tours’: “I guess we’ve kind of got competing jobs tours, if you want to know the truth of the matter.” Perry criticized President Obama’s approach to returning the campaign trail…. – ABC News, 8-15-11
  • GOP hopeful Mitt Romney rips Obama, calling President’s heartland trip a ‘Magical Misery bus tour’: President Obama launched a stealth campaign in the heartland Monday in an unmarked black bus, complete with dark tinted windows – and apparently paid for by taxpayers.
    The White House insisted Obama was on an official meet-and-greet to reassure Midwesterners about the struggling economy, but his first stop was Minnesota – home of Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the Republican presidential front-runners…. – NY Daily News, 8-16-11
  • Obama Checks In: You Can Now Follow Our President On Foursquare: First Facebook, then Twitter and now Foursquare; Obama sure gets around (social platforms). As announced today on the White House blog, Obama will be checking in to the location-based service as he hits stops on his economic bus tour…. – WaPo, 8-15-11
  • Obama’s bus tour: Like an aging rocker with plenty of visible gray hair and filled with hope that nostalgia will bring out the crowds, President Obama is on a bus trip…. – WaPo, 8-16-11
  • Obama talks economy, jobs and politics in Cannon Falls: President Obama speaks to crowds on Monday in Cannon Falls, Minn. The event kicked off a three-day bus tour of the Midwest…. – Twin Cities Planet, 8-16-11
  • New presidential bus attracts attention, criticism: Republicans criticize the cost and origin of the high-security bus used in President Obama’s Midwest tour. The Secret Service defends the $1.1-million vehicle, and says the GOP nominee will use one too…. – LAT, 8-17-11
  • Bus made in Canada nothing new for president: “[The president] will continue the ‘Yes, America Can’ bus tour with three stops in Iowa and Wisconsin. The president will participate in events focused on strength, optimism and resolve of the American people in … strengthening our economy, … – Chicago Sun-Times, 8-17-11
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