Obama’s Warm Welcome in the Midwest Stands in Stark Contrast to Road Ahead

By MichaelJames

Aug 17, 2011 8:49pm

ABC News' Mary Bruce reports:

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.

Take a look at the numbers, however, and one could easily argue that Obama has been barking up the wrong tree. The president’s three-state economic bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois brought him to small Democratic-leaning towns and to states where his approval rating is above the national average.

Add to that the fact that all three states he visited have unemployment rates well below the national 9.2 percent average, and what resulted were largely supportive crowds.

The political reality facing the president, however, is much bleaker. Today, the president’s approval rating on the economy hit a new low of just 26 percent, according to Gallup, an 11-point drop since May.

The new figure highlights the long road ahead for the president to convince Americans that he can right the faltering economy following the contentious debt debate and the nation’s first ever credit downgrade.

Although the White House claimed the trip was purely official business, the president spent the last three days honing his campaign pitch, telling Americans, “We’ll get through this moment of challenge,” and, “What’s broken is our politics.”

Looking ahead to 2012, voters can expect the president to paint himself as the rational alternative to Republicans who put party ahead of country.

At every stop along the way, the president tried to “enlist” Americans to urge lawmakers to work together to take the necessary steps to grow the economy.

In the coming weeks, the president will put forth his own jobs plan, which will likely resemble the “grand bargain” to reduce the deficit through spending cuts and revenue increases that he pushed during last month’s debt debate.

- Mary Bruce

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