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Obama attacks GOP field on bus tour

President Barack Obama poses for a photo with summer school kids on Monday in Chatfield, Minn., as part of his three-day economic bus tour.

Associated Press

President Barack Obama poses for a photo with summer school kids on Monday in Chatfield, Minn., as part of his three-day economic bus tour.

DECORAH, Iowa — Hitting back against an emboldened GOP, President Barack Obama launched a rare direct attack Monday on the Republican presidential field, criticizing his potential 2012 rivals for their blanket opposition to any deficit-cutting compromise involving new taxes.

"That's just not common sense," Obama told the crowd at a town hall-style meeting in Cannon Falls, Minn., as he kicked off a three-day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

"You've got to be willing to compromise to move the country forward," Obama said later as he delivered the same message at a town hall in Decorah, Iowa.

At the same time, Obama was forced to defend his record as Iowa voters asked him about all the compromises he has made with the GOP.

"I make no apologies for being reasonable," Obama declared.

He recalled a moment in last week's GOP presidential debate when all eight of the candidates said they would refuse to support a deal with tax increases, even if tax revenues were outweighed 10-to-1 by spending cuts.

The bus tour, although an official White House event rather than a campaign swing, is taking Obama through three states he won in 2008 but where he now needs to shore up his standing. It's giving him a chance to return to the grass roots campaigning that helped propel him to the White House, and shed his jacket and tie to mix it up with voters in coffee shops and lunch joints far from the Beltway.

Today, the president holds what the White House is billing as a "rural economic forum" in Peosta, Iowa, near the Illinois border, where he'll be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, to announce several initiatives for rural areas. He'll wrap up Wednesday with town halls, before returning to Washington.

President gives new, fortified bus a test run

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is traveling the Midwest on a new $1.1 million bus purchased by the Secret Service, an impenetrable-looking conveyance the size of a cross-country Greyhound, painted all in black, with dark tinted windows and flashing red and blue lights.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan emphasized that the bus, one of two purchased, wasn't purchased solely for the president and would be used for other dignitaries in the future.

In the past, the service has had to lease buses and retrofit them for that purpose.

Associated Press

Obama attacks GOP field on bus tour 08/16/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 12:31am]

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