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.
Yesterday, Obama lashed out at his Republican presidential challengers during a stop at Cannon Falls, Minn.
Obama said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is running away from his record of helping to enact a state healthcare that in some ways resemble Obama's controversial national plan nicknamed "Obamacare." "You got a governor who is running for president...It's like [he's] got amnesia," Obama said.
Replying to questions from an audience of about 500, Obama derided the GOP candidates for rejecting any tax increases on the rich or on corporations to reduce the government's deficit. "That's just not common sense," he argued. [Check out our editorial cartoons on the GOP.]
In an apparent swipe at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who says he wants to make Washington as "inconsequential" as possible, Obama said, "Don't buy into this whole notion that somehow government doesn't do us any good. Government protects us. Government is what built the interstate highway system. Government is what put a man on the moon."
Today, the president is scheduled to host a rural economic forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, as his heartland tour enters its second day. He winds up the tour tomorrow in Illinois, then is scheduled to go on a family vacation at Martha's Vineyard on Thursday.