Nightly News   |  October 17, 2011

Obama targets N.C., Va. on bus tour

President Obama campaigned for his jobs plan Monday, touring two traditionally Republican states that he won in 2008. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

Share This:

This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: In other news tonight, President Obama 's jobs bill may have been blocked in the Senate , but he was back out on the road today pushing for it, campaigning for it in another form in some key political states. NBC 's Kristen Welker with us from Millers Creek , North Carolina , traveling with the president tonight. Kristen , good evening.

KRISTEN WELKER reporting: Good evening, Brian . Well, President Obama will spend three days here in North Carolina and Virginia , pushing his jobs policy, but earlier today it sure seemed a lot like politics. President Obama sounded a lot like a candidate on the campaign trail in North Carolina today.

President BARACK OBAMA: I love Asheville . In fact, I think I should be on the tourism promotion bureau of Asheville .

WELKER: The official reason for this trip, to sell the American Jobs Act . But with almost every phrase, the president took direct aim at Republicans .

Pres. OBAMA: They want to gut regulations. They want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants.

WELKER: The line seemed like an attempt to tap into the Occupy Wall Street populist anger that has swept the country. And Mr. Obama railed against Republicans for voting against his jobs bill.

Pres. OBAMA: What we're going to do is we're going to break up my jobs bill. Maybe they just couldn't understand the whole thing all at once. So we're going to break it up into bite-size pieces.

WELKER: The president stopped to take in some North Carolina barbecue along the way, an image that only fueled the charge that this is all about getting re-elected.

Senator JOHN McCAIN (Republican, Arizona): On the taxpayer-paid dime, the president is now traveling, attacking the Republican plan.

WELKER: Today is the first day of a three-day presidential trip to Virginia and North Carolina , states that candidate Obama won in 2008 , states that had been safe for Republicans before that. But the economy has sent his approval ratings here tumbling.

Mr. JONATHAN MARTIN (Politico): His real challenge, though, is winning back those moderate swing voters in North Carolina and Virginia that provided the decisive margin for him to win in those two states.

WELKER: Republicans have also done the math, and Karl Rove 's super- PAC , American Crossroads , is running this attack ad in both states.

WELKER: Now, Brian , under one scenario President Obama could lose Florida , Indiana , New Hampshire and Ohio and win just one of these bus tour states to get the 270 electoral votes