Nightly News | August 15, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: The president, meanwhile, with his approval rating now hovering around 40 percent, give or take, is on that bus tour we mentioned, also in the Midwest , a trip the White House insists is not a campaign trip. So Chuck Todd with the president in Iowa tonight. Chuck , what does it look like to you?
CHUCK TODD reporting: Well, when you're in Iowa , it always feels like you're on a political trip. And about those poll numbers, you don't get to the low 40s or even high 30s unless you see Democrats voicing some disapproval. And at his first stop today in Minnesota , we found some supporters voicing concern about the president.
President BARACK OBAMA: So I am very pleased to be out of Washington .
TODD: Taking his message to the heartland, President Obama began predictably by trying to channel American frustration with Washington .
Pres. OBAMA: Some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than America win. We can't have patience with that kind of behavior anymore. I know you're frustrated, and I'm frustrated, too.
TODD: While many here at the town hall say they support the president, some expressed concern over his ability to lead the nation out of the current economic crisis.
Unidentified Man: Well, they say we're recovering. I've yet to see it, at least in this area around here. So, yeah, I might be a little frustrated as well at this point.
Unidentified Woman #1: I want him to reassure me that my investments are safe.
TODD: And some are simply frustrated with him.
Unidentified Woman #2: Show a little bit more leadership and less compromising.
TODD: The White House took pains today to claim this trip was not about the campaign, but that didn't stop the RNC chairman from following the president to Minnesota and leveling this attack.
Mr. REINCE PRIEBUS (Republican National Committee Chair): We're ready to fight and we're here to take back our country. Are you with me this morning?
TODD: But the president did dabble in presidential politics, attacking the entire GOP field for a moment from last week's debate.
Pres. OBAMA: 'Are you saying that none of you would take it?' And everybody raised their hand. None of them would take it. Think about that. I mean, that's just not common sense.
TODD: And the president is using these town halls to test out new campaign lines, turning one favorite Republican attack into a punch line.
Pres. OBAMA: Health care reform , also known as Obamacare . By thy way, you know what? Let me tell you, I have no problem with folks saying Obama cares. I do care.
TODD: We're wrapping up the second town hall tonight here in Iowa . He overnights here in Decorah , then it's off to Davenport , two more town halls