The president is back in the White House after his morning trip to Richmond, Va., where he held a rally to promote his $474 billion Stimulus-2 bill. Next week, he plans to continue his promotion tour with Air Force One trips to Ohio and North Carolina. All three are swing-states in the 2012 election.
“We travel all over the country; we’ll be to a lot of different places,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said today after being asked by a reporter about a partisan nature of the trips.
“Richmond is a great place to go because I’m a Virginian, but it’s also because … we can feel like we’re outside of Washington and talking to folks in the country who aren’t obsessed with the gamesmanship and the petty politics of the inside-the-beltway game,” he said, while traveling back to the White House.
Obama will travel to Ohio on Sept. 13, and to North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham region on Sept. 14.
Ohio is a pivotal state in presidential elections, and the Democrats plan to hold their convention in North Carolina.
Obama’s popularity in Ohio has fallen, and Republicans swept the North Carolina state elections in 2010. The state’s voters elected GOP majorities to the state House and Senate for first time since the Democratic Party forced an end to post-civil war reconstruction policies in the 1880s.
Republican leaders, however, are not standing by.
House Majority leader Eric Cantor, whose home district includes part of Richmond, held a constituency meeting today after Obama spoke at the University of Richmond.
Republican leaders also prodded the White House for the proper legislative text of Obama’s proposed stimulus bill. Administration officials said they would deliver the formal legislative language for the spending part of the bill next week, and a document about proposed offsetting budget cuts the following week.
Obama has used speeches to propose major legislation without forwarding draft bills to the Hill, or enough details for the Congressional Budget office to estimate the cost of his proposals, in the past.
“We look forward to receiving legislative text for any of your ideas in a manner that can be scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and to the upcoming speech you described last night in which you will detail the offsets that will be needed to ensure your proposals are paid for,” said the Sept. 9 letter signed by House Speaker John Boehner, Cantor and two other leaders.
The letter also asked the president to forward the final versions of three free trade deals that he has repeatedly called on Congress to approve. “We share your desire for bipartisan cooperation, and assume that your ideas were not presented as an all-or-nothing proposition, but rather in anticipation that the Congress may also have equally as effective proposals to offer for consideration,” the letter said.