ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) reports:
PEOSTA, IOWA – At the White House Rural Economic Forum in Iowa today, President Obama made his case to “enlist” Iowans in the fight to end partisan gridlock in Washington, which he said is to blame for the lack of economic growth.
“The only thing that is holding us back is our politics… The refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party. And that has to stop. Our economy cannot afford it,” Obama said at the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa.
The president is spending the second day of his three-state Midwest bus tour focusing on the rural economy, urging Iowans to send a message to Congress to “put politics aside and get something done.”
“There’s nothing wrong with this country. We’ll get through this moment of challenge. The only question is if, as a nation, we’re going to do what it takes to grow this economy and put people back to work right now. Can we get our politics to match up with the decency of our people,” Obama said.
The president announced several new initiatives aimed at boosting the rural economy and creating jobs, including doubling the amount of investment capitol funneled to rural small businesses and recruiting more doctors for rural hospitals.
“We want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to strengthening this economy,” Obama said. “All the proposals we’re making today didn’t require new laws. It just means that we’re doing things smarter, we’re eliminating duplication; we’re allocating resources to places that we know are really making a difference.”
However, the president, who participated in two “breakout sessions” on the rural economy at today’s forum, seemed more intent on soliciting ideas from the community for how to “jumpstart” the economy.
“I’m also convinced that [a] comeback isn’t going to be driven by Washington. It is going to be driven by folks here in Iowa,” he said. “It’s time Washington acted as responsibly as you do every single day. It’s past time.”