White House Recap August 13-19, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — Obama Embarks on Economic Rural Tour to the Midwest States of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois — Job Plan Will be Announced After Labor Day



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

Weekly Wrap Up: On the Road

Source: WH, 8-19-11

This week most of the action took place far away from the West Wing, as the President and many of his senior advisors hit the road to talk with Americans in rural towns and communities in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

Rural Road Trip: From August 15-18, President Obama traveled through the Midwest, meeting with Americans in rural towns and communities in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The purpose of his trip, dubbed the Economic Rural Tour 2011, was to have conversations with people from different walks of life about what is happening in our country right now. The President was there to talk, but also to listen. His message at the end of his trip? There’s nothing wrong with our country that can’t be fixed.

Summer Tour: The President was not the only member of the Administration on the road this week. In fact, this summer there are more than 100 events being held across the country in support of the White House’s Rural Economic Council, which this week released a Jobs and Economic Security report. The Council held a Rural Economic Forum in Iowa, where the President announced several new initiatives to help create jobs and grow the economy in rural communities.

VP in Asia: Vice President Joe Biden logged even more miles than the President this week, as he headed to China for the first stop on his three country trip through Asia. In addition to meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, the VP also attended a U.S.-China business roundtable and chatted with locals at a snack shop in the city. You can follow his travels live on Twitter – #VPin Asia.

Historic Appointments, Historic Delays: The President’s nominations for federal judges embody an unprecedented commitment to expanding the racial, gender and experiential diversity of the men and women who enforce our laws and deliver justice. Unfortunately, the delays these nominees are encountering on Capitol Hill are equally unprecedented. Check out this infographic to understand what this means for Americans seeking justice.

Immigration Update: The Department of Homeland Security announced a new strategy that focuses immigration resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. Cecilia Muñoz, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, held Office Hours via Twitter to explain the change and what it means.

Super Bowl Champs in the House: On August 12, the Green Bay Packers paid a visit to the President, where he congratulated the team on their championship season. Team members took a tour of the White House and gave a shout out to the First Lady, whose work with Let’s Move inspires their own Fit Kids program, which helps educate Wisconsin children about good health and smart eating habits.

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


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.


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


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






  • 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

Full Text August 15, 16, 17, 2011: President Obama’s Midwestern Bus Tour Promoting Economic & Job Growth Plans



The Economic Bus Tour


President Obama holds a town hall in Decorah, Iowa

President Obama’s Town Hall Meetings this Week

map of President Obama's Rural Tour 2011

President Obama wants to hear from Americans about how national economic policies are affecting life in your communities. He is spending the next three days on the road in the Midwest, and will participate in four town hall meetings, two on Monday and two on Wednesday. Each of the question and answer sessions will be live streamed on whitehouse.gov/live.

The President kicks off his three day rural tour today in Cannon Falls, Minnesota with a meeting at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park at 1:05 pm EDT. Later this afternoon, he will be in Decorah, Iowa for another town hall session with locals at the Seed Savers Exchange, which starts at 6:15 EDT.

On Tuesday, the President will be in Peosta, Iowa, where he will hold a Rural Economic Forum with members of the White House Rural Council, which was created in June to report on the economic climate in rural America. The President’s opening remarks will be live streamed at 12:50 pm EDT, as will his closing remarks at 3:30 pm EDT.

The President will travel to his home state of Illinois on Wednesday, where he will hold two more town hall meetings, the first will be in Atkinson at 12:30 pm EDT, at the Wyffels Hybrids Atkinson Production Facility, followed by another that afternoon at the Country Corner Farm in Alpha at 4:30 pm EDT.

While on the road, the President will be discussing ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation. He wants to hear directly from small business owners, local families, private sector leaders, rural organizations and government officials.  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.

Live Stream Schedule for Town Hall Meetings at whitehouse.gov/live

Monday August 15, 2011

1:05 pm EDT — Town Hall at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park, Cannon Falls, MN

6:15 pm EDT — Town Hall at Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, Iowa

Wednesday August 17, 2011

12:30 pm EDT — Townhall at Wyffels Hybrids Atkinson Production Facility, Atkinson, IL

4:30 pm EDT — Townhall at Country Corner Farm, Alpha, IL

Live Stream Schedule for the Rural Economic Forum at whitehouse.gov/live

Tuesday August 16, 2011

12:50 pm EDT — Opening Remarks at White House Rural Economic Forum, Peosta, Iowa



  • Watch This: Highlights of the President’s Tour through Rural Iowa

    President Obama headed to Decorah, IA on Monday afternoon, where he joined a crowd of 500 locals for a town hall meeting. Topics covered ranged from the difference between divided government and dysfunctional government, America’s proud history as a nation of innovation and the importance of agriculture in the American economy. The next day, he was in Peosta for the White House Rural Economic Forum. Along the way, he enjoyed some of the state’s beautiful scenery.
    Go behind the scenes with the President as he meets with the people of Decorah and Peosta, attends the Rural Economic Forum, and travels through rural Iowa.

    Interested in seeing more of the President’s rural road trip? Take a look at how he spent his morning in Minnesota.

  • Watch This: Highlights of the President’s Tour through Rural Minnesota

    On Monday, President Obama visited Cannon Falls, Minnesota where he talked with a crowd of 500 locals at Hannah’s Bend Park. During the town hall meeting, the President discussed the challenges that Americans have faced over the past year and reiterated his belief that there is “nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed; what’s broken is our politics.” Later, the President traveled to the Old Market Deli where he had lunch with a group of veterans and was welcomed to the state by a local cowboy.
    Go behind the scenes with the President as he meets with the people of Cannon Falls, eats at the Old Market Deli and travels through rural Minnesota.

    Interested in more White House video? Take a look at  the highlights of the President’s trip through Iowa.

  • Rural Tour Day Three: Last Stop, Alpha Illinois

    Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (469MB) | mp3 (45MB)

    President Obama ended his three day tour of the Midwest at a town hall meeting on a farm in rural Illinois, where he took questions that ranged from enhanced protection for law enforcement officers to the shrinking size of local county fairs. The President’s last day was filled with opportunities to enjoy the rural landscape and attractions of his home state, and included stops at the Whiteside County Fair and a Galesburg High School football practice, in addition to an earlier town hall meeting in Atkinson.

    The President told the crowd of 250 people  gathered at Alpha’s Country Corner Farm that they can expect to hear about new proposals that will put Americans back to work in the next few weeks.

    When folks tell you that we’ve got a choice between jobs now or dealing with our debt crisis, they’re wrong.  They’re wrong.  We can’t afford to just do one or the other.  We’ve got to do both.  And the way to do it is to make some — reform the tax code, close loopholes, make some modest modifications in programs like Medicare and Social Security so they’re there for the next generation, stabilize those systems.  And you could actually save so much money that you could actually pay for some of the things like additional infrastructure right now.

    We can close the deficit and put people to work, but what’s required is that folks work together.  That’s the big challenge.  That’s the big challenge.

    And over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be putting out more proposals to put people to work right now.  And some of them — yes, some of them cost money.  And the way we pay for it is by doing more on deficit reduction than the plan that we had to come up with right at the last minute in order to avoid default.  We didn’t do as much as we could have.

    The President also laid out a series of steps that Congress can take as soon as they return to Washington that will put money in people’s pockets and create good jobs, including

    • Extending the payroll tax cut that was passed in December that put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket
    • Passing trade deals that have the support of both business and the United Auto Workers, deals that will help realize the President’s dream of seeing more products overseas that carry the stamp, “Made in America.”
    • Passing the America Invents Act which makes it easier to get patents for  new products, services or  inventions, they can turn it around without a lot of red tape and bureaucracy and start businesses that hire workers

    As his three day trip through rural America drew to a close, the President told the crowd why his time on the road, meeting Americans in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, had been so rewarding, “It inspires you, because it reminds you about what makes this country so great, why I love this country so much, and why we’ve got to be doing every single thing we can every minute of every day to make sure that you can continue to achieve your American Dream and pass it on to your kids and your grandchildren.”

    Use the jump links below to skip to the answers to questions you’re most interested in.The questions below are paraphrased from the questions asked by participants during the townhall:

    You can watch events throughout the economic bus tour live at WhiteHouse.gov/live and follow the White House page on Foursquare to keep up with the President’s trip.
  • Rural Tour Day Three: Encouraging Job Growth

    Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (604MB) | mp3 (58MB)

    The final day of President Obama’s bus tour across America’s heartland was jam packed with meetings and spontaneous stops to enjoy the local landscape. On his way to a town hall in Atkinson, Illinois to talk about strengthening the economy, the President pulled in to the Whiteside County Fair and checked out the dairy cow judging.

    President Barack Obama stops by the Whiteside County Fair in Morrison, Ill.

    President Barack Obama talks with people watching the dairy cow judging during a stop at the Whiteside County Fair in Morrison, Ill., , Aug. 17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    During the town hall, President Obama discussed how inspiring the conversations he’s having with Americans have been:

    Now, what’s been striking as I’ve been traveling through over the last few days — you guys, you’re all fulfilling your responsibilities.  You’re working hard, you’re looking after your families, you’re volunteering at church, you’re coaching Little League — you’re doing everything right.  And all you’re asking for, if I’m not mistaken, is that your political representatives take their responsibilities just as seriously.

    And part of that means that you have to put politics aside sometimes to do what’s right for the country.  People have been asking me, well, why didn’t you call Congress back after this whole debt ceiling thing?  Why’d you let them leave town?  I say, well, I don’t think it would be good for business confidence and certainty just to see members of Congress arguing all over again.  I figured it was time for them to spend a little time back in their districts, hear your frustrations, hear your expectations.

    As I’ve been driving on this bus, just seeing all those flags on the way in, seeing folks waving, little kids ready to go back to school, and grandparents in their lawn chairs, and folks out in front of the machine shop and out in front of the fire stations — you go through small towns all throughout America, and it reminds you how strong we are and how resilient we are and how decent we are.  And that should be reflected in our politics; that should be reflected in our government.

  • Last Stop on the Rural Tour: Alpha, Illinois

    Alpha, Illinois

    After a surprise stop at the Whiteside County Fair, President Obama is heading to the Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Illinois for his fourth town hall in three days. The President has been traveling through the Midwest discussing ideas on how the government can help promote economic growth, accelerate hiring and spur innovation in rural communities like Cannon Falls, MN, Decorah, IA and Atkinson, IL.

    Alpha, Illinois

  • Rural Tour Day Three: Atkinson, Illinois

    Atkinson, Illinois

    President Obama will meet with locals in Atkinson, Illinois later today for a town hall where he will take questions from the crowd and outline ways we can strengthen the middle class and increase economic opportunity for everyone. He’s been on the road for three days now, travelling to rural communities and talking directly with the American people about a wide variety of issues that impact our economy. In his closing remarks at the White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa yesterday, the President told the crowd that this trip has reminded him why he wanted to go into public service in the first place:

    But getting out of Washington and meeting all of you, and seeing how hard you’re working, how creative you are, how resourceful you are, how determined you are, that just makes me that much more determined to serve you as best I can as President of the United States.

    Earlier this week, President Obama spoke with local citizens during town hall meetings in Cannon Falls, Minnesota and Decorah, Iowa before heading to Peosta, where he announced a series of new job initiatives.

  • President Obama: “Why I wanted to get into public service in the first place”

    Today in Peosta, Iowa, President Obama took a moment to reflect on what his trip through rural America has meant:

    As I was driving down those little towns in my big bus we slowed down, and I’m standing in the front and I’m waving, I’m seeing little kids with American flags, and grandparents in their lawn chairs, and folks outside a machine shop, and passing churches and cemeteries and corner stores and farms — I’m reminded about why I wanted to get into public service in the first place.  Sometimes there are days in Washington that will drive you crazy.  But getting out of Washington and meeting all of you, and seeing how hard you’re working, how creative you are, how resourceful you are, how determined you are, that just makes me that much more determined to serve you as best I can as President of the United States.

    President Obama Waves To People Along The Road In Decorah, Iowa

    President Barack Obama waves to people along the road in Decorah, Iowa, Aug. 15, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest focusing on ways to grow the economy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Rural Tour Day Two: Economic Forum Closing Remarks

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    President Obama ended today’s White House Rural Economic Forum feeling energized by the ideas he heard all day from small business owners, students, entrepreneurs, ranchers, farmers and clean energy companies. He told the crowd of 125 rural leaders at the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa  that the task of the entire nation “has to be to get behind what you’re doing; our task has to be making sure that nothing stands in your way, that we remove any obstacles to your success.”

    In addition to the President’s opening and closing remarks, the day included breakout-sessions moderated by senior administration officials that covered topics ranging from initiatives on broadband access and renewable energy to job creation in small, rural towns nationwide. He told the crowd that his time on the road this week has underscored his deep confidence that the American people can put the nation’s economy back on track:

    I am absolutely confident about our future.  And I’m confident because I know that while we face serious challenges — and there’s no sugarcoating that — there’s not a nation on Earth that would not want to trade places with us.  There’s nothing wrong with our country — although there is some problems with our politics.  That’s what we need to fix.  That’s how we’re going to unlock the promise of America, and the incredible dynamism and creativity of our people.

    And having a chance to meet with some of the men and women in this room have only made me feel more confident.  I’m excited about the future that you’re working towards each and every day.  And it ought to remind us of a simple lesson:  It’s always a mistake to bet against America. It’s always a mistake to bet against the American worker.  It’s always a mistake to bet against the American worker, the American farmer, the American small business owner, the American people.

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the White House Rural Economic Forum

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    The President emphasized the importance of government connecting directly with citizens. Rather than focusing on party or factions, he explained, the key is working together towards a better future for the country:

    When you sit in some of these breakout sessions, I had no idea who was Democrat, who was Republican, who was independent.  What everybody understood was there are times when government can make a huge difference.  There are times where that SBA office or that USDA office can make all the difference in the world…And so it’s a very practical way of thinking about these problems.  It’s not either/or.  It’s a recognition that the prime driver of economic growth and jobs is going to be our people and the private sector and our businesses.  But you know what, government can help.

    So I hope that I can count on you in the days ahead to lend your voice to this fight to strengthen our economy.  I need you to keep your pressure on your elected representatives for things like the payroll tax cuts or road construction funds or the other steps that will help to put our country back to work. That’s what ought to unite us as a country, regardless of party or ideology, because if we can do that — if we can put country ahead of party — I know that our future is bright.  I know that our best days are ahead of us.

    For more information, check out the White House Rural Council. And don’t forget to tune into the President’s town hall meetings throughout his Rural Tour on WhiteHouse.gov/live, or see the full schedule.

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  • Giving Rural America More Tools to Grow and Create Jobs

    Posted by Tom Vilsack and Karen Mills on August 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM EDT

    Today, the President announced several important new initiatives to continue strengthening the rural economy and to create jobs in rural areas.

    As part of the White House Rural Council’s efforts to improve federal government coordination on rural economic development, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have been focused on rural small business growth. And for good reason: Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses.

    Many of these small businesses are in rural areas and we are making sure that they have the tools they need to grow, create jobs and drive the economy.

    President Obama at a Breakout Session during the White House Rural Economic Forum

    President Barack Obama, accompanied by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, participates in a breakout session at the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011, as part of his three-day economic bus tour of the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    Today, the President announced a series of initiatives that leverage existing programs and funding to help small businesses and to meet other critical needs in rural communities.  This included:

    • Committing up to $350 million in SBA growth capital to investors in rural small businesses over the next 5 years
    • Launching a series of events to connect private equity and venture capital investors with rural start ups
    • Creating teams to link federal funding opportunities with private investors interested in making rural investments
    • Making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide
    • Making HHS loans available to help more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit additional staff
    • Helping rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement health IT
  • Rural Tour Day Two: Economic Forum Opening Remarks

    Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (123MB) | mp3 (12MB)

    On the second day of his tour through rural America, President Obama participated in a Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. He and members of his Cabinet joined a group of farmers, small business owners, private sector leaders, rural organizations and government officials to discuss ideas and initiatives that will spur job creation and economic innovation in small towns across the nation. In his opening remarks, the President announced several new initiatives that will promote economic growth in rural communities, including:

    Helping Rural Small Businesses Access Capital

    • Doubling SBA Investment Funds for Rural Small Businesses over the Next 5 Years: As part of the Startup America Initiative, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced the creation of a $1 billion Impact Investment Fund through its Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.  The Impact Fund will invest in distressed areas as well as in emerging sectors such as clean energy.  SBA provides up to a 2:1 match to private capital raised by this fund, partnering with private investors to target “impact” investments.  SBA and USDA will partner together to drive $350 million of investment capital through the Impact Fund and existing SBICs into rural small businesses over the next five years, doubling the current rate of investment.
    • Connecting Rural Small Businesses with Private Investment Capital: To further achieve this goal, SBA and USDA will launch a series of Rural Private Equity and Venture Capital conferences nationwide to provide a platform for connecting private equity and venture capital investors with rural start-ups.  USDA, SBA, Treasury, Interior and other relevant agencies will also create rural capital “marketing teams” that pitch federal funding opportunities to private investors.  These “marketing teams” will leverage existing personnel with expertise about rural funding sources across all federal departments and agencies.
  • Rural Tour Day One: Investing in America

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    The second stop on President Obama’s tour of rural America was a town hall meeting in Decorah,Iowa, where he talked with 500 local citizens about how we can grow the economy and put people back to work. The crowd asked questions on topics ranging from reforming the tax code and the rights of unions to whether Congress is a good partner, and what the current Washington gridlock means for democracy.

    The President addressed the frustration that many have expressed with the dysfunctional government in Washington and said he shares that feeling:

  • Rural Tour Day Two: Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa

    Peosta, Iowa

    After a full day spent talking and listening to Americans at town halls in Cannon Falls, Minnesota and Decorah, Iowa yesterday, this morning the President’s economic bus tour pulls into Peosta, Iowa for the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College. President Obama and members of his Cabinet will meet with private sector leaders, farmers and small business owners to discuss ideas to grow the economy, accelerate hiring and spur innovation in small towns across the country.

    The focus of the forum is how we can create good jobs that put more Americans back to work, and President Obama will announce new job initiatives for rural America that will do just that. The initiatives will include recommendations from the White House Rural Council that include helping small businesses in rural areas access capital, expanding rural job search and training services and increasing rural access to health care workers and technology.

  • President Obama: Our Biggest Challenge Right Now Is Putting People to Work

    Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (582MB) | mp3 (56MB)

    During the first stop on his rural road trip, President Obama took questions on topics ranging from using renewable energy to create jobs and helping young farmers buy land and market their products effectively to the future of Social Security and his Administration’s plans to bolster education.

    Speaking with a crowd of 500 people at Hannah’s Bend Park in Cannon Falls, MN, the President discussed the “extraordinary challenges” our nation has faced over the last two and a half years, but extolled the “extraordinary hope that America represents” around the world, and reiterated his belief that there is “nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed; what’s broken is our politics.”

    Many of the questions focused on health care, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and the President stressed his commitment to making sure we preserve the integrity of these programs while ensuring they are still in place for future generations:

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  • Second Stop on the Economic Bus Tour: Decorah, Iowa

    Decorah, Iowa

    Ed. Note: Watch the video or read the full transcript of the President’s town hall in Decorah, Iowa.

    For the second stop of President Obama’s economic tour, the bus pulls into Decorah, Iowa for a town hall meeting with 500 local residents. While in Decorah, the President will be at the Seed Savers Exchange to discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring.

    The Seed Savers Exchange is a 850-acre farm that saves and shares heirloom seeds like Strawberry Crown Squash, Lemon Drop Tomato, Stone Mountain Watermelon and Champion of England Pea for future generations. Shannon Carmody from the Seed Savers Exchange describes heirlooms as rare seeds with a historic context, “Maybe they were offered in a seed catalog in the 1930’s, and are no longer offered commercially today, or they could have been brought to North American by immigrant families and are maintained for generation after generation.” Watch the town hall live beginning at 6:15 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov/live.

  • President Obama Kicks Off the Economic Bus Tour in Cannon Falls, Minnesota

    This morning, President Obama will visit Cannon Falls, Minnesota to kick off his economic 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 our energy supply, and the strength of our communities. Cannon Falls, Minnesota, 35 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul, is the first stop in a three day tour across America’s heartland. President Obama will take questions from small business owners, rural organizations and local families during a town hall beginning at 1:05 pm EDT at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park. Tune in to the town hall live at WhiteHouse.gov/live.

    Cannon Falls
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