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President Ends Bus Tour in Alpha

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 19, 2011 8:20PM

President Obama in Austin, TX in July. (Randall Stevens /
President Obama ended his three-day rural bus tour in front of a crowd of about 300 assembled at a farmer's market in Alpha, Illinois. After a surprise stop at a high school in downstate Galesburg, the President spoke for about 20 minutes and took about ten questions from the crowd. During his appearance, Obama hinted at a jobs package he will put forth in September, saying “..over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be putting out more proposals to put people to work right now.”

Throughout the tour, Obama pushed a series of ideas to get the economy moving again, such as extending the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment benefits and passing a patent reform bill. He also hammered away at partisanship and his critics, telling the crowd in Alpha Americans need to “think about country ahead of party. Think about the next generation instead of the next election."

Campaigning for the next election however, was one of the main criticisms of the bus tour. Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus told the Tribune on a conference call “We think this is an outrage that taxpayers of this country would have to foot the bill so the campaigner in chief can run around in his Canadian bus and act as if he’s interested in creating jobs in our country that needed them, when he’s been ignoring the issue while he’s been in the White House.”

Obama also received criticism over the Prevost tour bus itself, as it is a Canadian made vehicle. As the Trib pointed out however, critics seemed to ignore the fact that President George W. Bush drove a bus from the same Canadian manufacturer, as well as his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry. In addition, GOP darlings Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin both ride around in Prevost busses. John McCain’s bus was also a Prevost.