Obama faces down Tea Party protests at meetings
President Barack Obama has embarked on a bus tour in the wake of sagging approval ratings and a controversy over the debt deal that left both liberals and conservatives unhappy. His tour, which is scheduled for three days, is taking him across the Midwest to meet with voters at town halls.
Fairly soon into the tour, Obama met with some protesters. Specifically, Tea Party activist Ryan Rhodes in Decorah, Iowa, according to CBS News. Rhodes asked how Obama could call for civility when the Tea Partiers had been referred to as terrorists by Vice President Joe Biden. Biden's remarks were taken out of context in this sense, but many still feel outrage at the comparison, which linked the tactics of the Tea Party to terrorists holding hostages.
"Now, in fairness, since I've been called a socialist who wasn't born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a healthcare bill, I'm all for lowering the rhetoric," Obama replied.
Still, Rhodes and a few other protesters refused to back down. One woman cited Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who said that right-wing extremists had to be monitored, the news source reports.
"That's true, Timothy McVeigh should be – you would agree with that," Obama said.
He also made a point to discuss the initiatives he has tried to pass that are meant to spur job growth, infrastructure programs and tax cuts, but have been held up in Congress.
The 2012 elections are heating up. On the Republican side, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll, showing that she has a major following that could possibly carry her to the Republican nomination. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are expected to be the other primary contenders, although Ron Paul has been surprisingly resilient, given the lack of coverage he has received from most media outlets.