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Obama to talk jobs on town hall tour

David Gura Aug 15, 2011
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JEREMY HOBSON: Today, President Obama starts a three-day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The President plans to talk to families, small business owners, and other politicians about how to improve the employment situation. But if he can’t count on Congress to work with him what can the president do on the jobs front?

Marketplace’s David Gura has that story from Washington.


David Gura: President Obama’s first stop is in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

Robby Robinson: We’ve got quite a bit of industry here, in the city.

That’s Mayor Robby Robinson.

Robinson: And we’re always looking to entertain more if there’s anybody who wants to come here.

He says his town has “cut everything back to the bone.” His advice to the president is to listen. He says people in Washington haven’t been listening to each other enough lately.

Robinson: It doesn’t make anybody happy. And nobody wins when they do that.

The people of Cannon Falls will quiz the president at a town hall meeting later today.

Matthew Slaughter teaches public policy at Dartmouth. He says he expects people’s questions will be the same throughout the tour.

Matthew Slaughter: They’re concerned about today and tomorrow, and about their kids, and that’s a pretty pervasive fear that the president and others hopefully can understand and start react to.

But a meaningful reaction will require cooperation on Capitol Hill. Slaughter says he hopes events like this tour will help politicians realize what’s at stake and get them to work together.

Slaughter: If we can’t find the will to do that, the prospects for the U.S. economy, and for a lot of families, and therefore for their elected representatives of these families, are pretty sobering.

Small business owners are likely to speak up. They’re still worried about spending money and adding employees. William Dunkelberg heads the National Federation of Independent Business. He says they’re looking for reassurance.

William Dunkelberg: If we had something that would give us confidence, that we knew we were going to be in a better place in the future and have this under control, consumers and business would be willing to spend and to hire.

And he says that won’t happen until Americans regain their confidence in Washington.

I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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