Nightly News   |  October 18, 2011

Obama promotes jobs plan in N.C., Va.

President Obama continued his jobs tour through North Carolina and Virginia, two traditionally Republican states he managed to win over in 2008. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Even with all of this to contend with, there's still no agreement in Washington about remedies for the unemployment rate. And a funny thing happened to President Obama on the road today pushing his plan. Some bad news regarding a big store chain got in the way. Our own Kristen Welker traveling with the president tonight, joining us from Emporia , Virginia . Kristen , good evening.

KRISTEN WELKER reporting: Good evening, Brian . Well, this is day two of the president's campaign-style bus tour, which has been billed as a trip to sell his jobs plan in these key swing states of Virginia and North Carolina . President Obama had harsh words for congressional Republicans again today.

President BARACK OBAMA: Their plan says we need to go back to the good old days before the financial crisis when Wall Street wrote its own rules. Our plan says we need to make it easier for small businesses on Main Street .

WELKER: Back in Washington , Republicans kept up their counterattacks.

Senator MITCH McCONNELL (Republican, Minority Leader): Well, I know he's desperately interested in trying to blame anybody else. But he's the president of the United States , he set the agenda, he got everything he wanted, and it didn't work.

WELKER: But as Mr. Obama rolled into Emporia , Virginia , he encountered a stark reminder that it's not the Republicans but the economy that may be his biggest roadblock to re- election . The local Lowe's hardware here is one of 20 Lowe's stores closing down by Thanksgiving , leaving almost a hundred out of work in this small community and 2,000 unemployed across the country.

Mr. ROBERT FALLS (Emporia, Virginia Resident): I feel very, very sorry for them because, like you said, is -- no places available in this area that you can make that kind of money.

WELKER: Just one reason many of Virginia 's independent voters who propelled candidate Obama to victory in 2008 have now soured on him.

Ms. DOREEN BOELS (Emporia, Virginia Resident): I can't say it's his fault the economy has went downhill, but it's really gone downhill.

WELKER: The president insisted this trip is not about the election during a one-on-one interview with NBC station WCNC in Charlotte .

Pres. OBAMA: If we're not focused on the election 13 months from now but we're focused on what can help the economy right now, then the American Jobs Bill fits the bill.

WELKER: Now, Brian , the president finished speaking at this Virginia high school just a short while ago. One more sign that this trip is political, the first lady will be joining him in Virginia tomorrow. Brian :

WILLIAMS: Kristen Welker traveling with the president in Emporia , Virginia tonight. Kristen , thanks.