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Obama takes aim at Republicans in Midwest tour

(Xinhua)

08:46, August 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama took aim at Republicans Monday on the first leg of his bus tour in Midwest, saying the GOP should be responsible for the gridlock in Washington.

"There is nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed; what' s broken is our politics," Obama said in a town hall meeting at Cannon Falls, Minnesota. In an apparent dig at Congressional Republicans, Obama said "some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than America win, we ended up creating more uncertainty and more damage to an economy that was already weak."

Urging "Congress needs to move," Obama said the legislative branch must take action on his proposals to spur the economy, such as patent reform, trade deals, payroll tax cut extension and setting up an infrastructure bank.

Minnesota is the first stop in Obama's three-day, three-state bus tour. The trip is an opportunity for Obama to get out of Washington and into the heartland. "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," said the White House.

The White House rejected the notion that this tour is a political one. Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary, told reporters on the way to Minnesota that "to suggest that any time the president leaves Washington is 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 and meeting with the American people."

Obama was being grounded in Washington for much of the past month by the debt-ceiling negotiation. The toll of the stand-off is evident in a Gallup Poll released Sunday. It showed Obama's approval rating hit an all-time low that 39 percent of Americans said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president. Fifty-four percent of Americans said they disapprove of the president's job performance.

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