Obama Wants More Time Outside the Beltway

Obama finds real Americans and their stories refreshing and tells aides to plan more trips away.

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President Obama enjoys his trips outside Washington so much that he has told aides he wants to schedule them as often as possible. And a big reason is that the president believes everyday Americans have a much more upbeat, less partisan attitude than the pols he deals with in Washington. He finds this refreshing and heartening.

A senior White House official told me that, on the road, "You hear the challenges people are facing but you also hear over and over that people are still optimistic about their future and the county's future. The hyper-partisanship in Washington is not reflected in the real world out there."

[Read about Obama's bus tours.]

Obama has made two bus tours recently--one through the Midwest, and one to North Carolina and Virginia last week. He was particularly gratified by his enthusiastic reception in North Carolina, a swing state that he carried narrowly in 2008. He visited rural areas where his aides don't expect many people to back him in 2012, such as Millers Creek, but he still found the reception extremely positive.

[See a slide show of 10 issues driving Obama's re-election campaign.]

Afterward, the president said privately that such events give him a morale boost and show that comity is far more deeply ingrained outside Washington than it is in the capital. It's no wonder that he wants to hit the road again.

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