President spends 2nd day in NC campaigning for jobs bill

President Barack Obama speaks at the YMCA at the Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Obama is on a three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

October 17, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
President Barack Obama spent a second day in North Carolina Tuesday campaigning for his jobs bill that's stalled in Congress.

The president crossed the state by bus. He stopped first in Jamestown, North Carolina before moving across the border to Emporia, Virginia, and overnight in Hampton, Virginia.

Asked why he's touring Republican areas of North Carolina, he said the reason is simple. "I'm the president," he said.

Obama said he's not the president of Democrats or the president of Republicans. He said he's the president of all Americans who are going through tough economic times together.

Added Obama: "We don't need a Republican jobs act or a Democratic jobs act. We need to put people back to work right now."

Senate Republicans blocked Obama's jobs bill last week. Obama says lawmakers will now break up his $447 billion jobs bill, a package of targeted tax cuts and direct spending proposals, and vote on the individual components.

Click here for raw video of the President's speech in Jamestown

After Jamestown, Obama proceeded to Reid's House in Reidsville, N.C. for lunch. He was greeted with cheers from a diverse crowd as he entered the restaurant.

The president worked the room, stopping to chat with one local couple who said they'd been married 59 years, and joked that he and his wife Michelle had 40 years to go to catch up. He even complimented a local resident who said he worked in the funeral business, exclaiming, "Fantastic, that's important work!"

Afterward, Obama encountered Laketta Hussain, who was among a group waiting outside and was using a very old cell phone or a cordless phone to talk to her grandmother. Obama took the phone and spoke for a few minutes. "I'm doing good," he said, "except your granddaughter needs a new cell phone."

"There's just something about North Carolina," he said Tuesday. "People are just gracious and kind. Even the folks who don't vote for me are nice to me." He recalled stopping for barbecue, sweet tea, and hush puppies and playfully admonished the audience not to tell his health-conscious wife what he's been eating.

The President also sat down for an interview with ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper where he compared the Occupy Wall Street movement with some of the frustrations on the right coming from the Tea Party.

Click here for more

Not everything on the bus tour has gone smoothly. Authorities are investigating the theft of a truck containing presidential seals, podiums and sound equipment.

Richmond station WWBT-TV ( ) reports that the truck was parked at a hotel in the Richmond area when it was stolen Monday. The truck was recovered in the parking lot of another hotel near the Richmond International Airport.

The Defense Information System Agency said Tuesday in a statement that a government vehicle was stolen and then recovered. The theft is being investigated in coordination with law enforcement agencies.

Obama made stops in Asheville and Millers Creek, NC Monday trying to sell Americans on his plan to reduce unemployment and get the sluggish economy moving.

He told a crowd of about 2,000 at the Asheville airport that his American Jobs Act would help put people back to work and rebuild infrastructure at the same time.

"You got bridges that need fixing. You got schools that need to be modernized," he said. "There is no reason why we should sit here and watch the best highways and the best schools be built in China."

Click here for raw video of President Obama's speech Monday

The North Carolina Republican Party has called the tour a campaign stunt paid for with tax dollars. It's offered to pay for a tow truck to take the President's bus back to Washington.

"The President will spend his time in North Carolina and Virginia only to realize that he wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars solely demonizing Republicans," offered NCGOP Chair Robin Hayes.

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