Asheville (North Carolina): US President
Barack Obama sought to tap public discontent with big money
elites as he kicked off a campaign-style bus tour to
blame Republican obstructionism for the souring economy.
Obama opened a three-day swing through North Carolina and
Virginia as he struggles to maintain his standing with voters
over the economy, especially in the two southern states he
narrowly won in 2008.
The road trip comes with Obama`s USD 447 billion jobs
bill -- touted by the White House as the best way to bring
down the high 9.1 per cent unemployment rate -- stuck in the
Senate, where Republican lawmakers have blocked a vote on the
"This is the kind of bill containing the kinds of
proposals that in the past have received support from
Democrats and Republicans. It`s completely paid for by asking
our wealthiest citizens, folks making more than USD 1 million
a year, to pay their fair share," Obama told a rally in
Asheville, North Carolina.
"But apparently none of this matters to the Republicans
in the Senate, because last week they got together to block
"They said no to putting teachers and construction
workers back on the job. They said no to rebuilding our roads
and our bridges and our airports. They said no to cutting
taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, when all
they`ve been doing is cutting taxes for the wealthiest
Obama said a poll showed 63 per cent of Americans support
his bill but "100 per cent of Republicans in the Senate voted
against it. That doesn`t make any sense, does it?"
He said the Republican plan "says we should go back to
the good old days before the financial crisis when Wall Street
was writing its own rules. They want to roll back all the
reforms that we put into place."
Ahead of the speech, White House officials drew a
connection between public frustrations on display in the
spreading Wall Street protests and Republican efforts to roll
back reforms of the financial community.