Nightly News | August 14, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: President Obama , meanwhile, will also roll through Iowa this week. He's about
to begin a three-day tour by bus of three Midwestern states: Iowa , Illinois and Minnesota. This trip comes as his approval rating dropped below 40 percent today in a Gallup tracking poll. NBC 's Kristen Welker reports from the White House .
KRISTEN WELKER reporting: The president gearing up for a three-day campaignlike bus tour through key swing states in the Midwest . The focus? Jobs and the economy.
President BARACK OBAMA: But I want everybody to understand here, the problem is not that we don't have answers. The problem is, is that folks are playing political games.
WELKER: This after a summer that cast a dark shadow over his presidency, including a bruising fight over the debt ceiling, the recent downgrade of the US credit rating , and unemployment rates stuck above 9 percent.
WELKER: The president tried to tap into America 's frustration in his weekly address.
Pres. OBAMA: So you've got a right to be frustrated, I know I am, because you deserve better.
WELKER: He'll likely strike a similar tone when he hits the road through the rural Midwest . The trip kicks off Monday with stops in Minnesota , then on to Iowa , and finally his home state , Illinois . In 2008 , Mr. Obama handily won the three states . But now his approval rating has dropped in each.
Source: Gallup Daily Tracking
Representative DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (Democrat, Florida): He still has widespread support. If anyone is in trouble, it's the Republican Party .
WELKER: The trip will also be a counteroffensive to a weekend in which the GOP had the spotlight and the president was the target.
Representative MICHELE BACHMANN (Republican, Minnesota): You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.
Governor RICK PERRY (Republican, Texas): The fact is for nearly three years President Obama has been downgrading American jobs , he's been downgrading our standing in the world.
WELKER: Even members of the president's own party criticizing him for, as they say, not showing enough leadership.
Mr. TAVIS SMILEY (PBS Talk Show Host): I think the American people want to see the president fight.
WELKER: Now, another sign that 2012 is heating up, the president and new GOP candidate Rick Perry will both be in Iowa on Tuesday. Then later in the week, President Obama heads to Martha's Vineyard for a family vacation, despite calls for him to cancel that trip to deal with the economy. Lester :
HOLT: All right, Kristen Welker , thank