POLITICS

Obamas campaigning for jobs bill

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Still, with his wife at his side in a military setting, Obama's pitch for his jobs bill was far less partisan than it has been across his bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia. He didn't target at length the Republican lawmakers who have voted against his plan, promising more broadly to keep pushing Congress to pass a bill that's now been broken into pieces.

From the military base, the first lady joined her husband on his impenetrable-looking, million-dollar black bus as it hit the road.

After a short drive, the Obamas stopped off to buy pumpkins at a roadside produce stand, one of several unscheduled stops the president made in the two states.

Mrs. Obama has an easy way with the public that makes her a natural for the retail, roadside politics that are a staple of presidential campaigns. She chatted with shoppers at the Wood's Orchard produce stand and hugged the couple that owned the store so frequently that they appeared to be old friends, not strangers.

Mrs. Obama also joined her husband for lunch with a small group of veterans at Anna's Pizza and Italian Kitchen, a strip mall restaurant in Hampton, Va.

With her husband bracing for a tough re-election fight, the first lady has promised to put herself into the campaign effort like never before. Since mid-May, she's headlined more than 15 fundraisers for her husband and the Democratic Party. And she's blasted out mass emails to the party faithful urging them to support her husband.

After lunch in Hampton, the first lady was headed to St. Louis for the first game of the World Series. Major League Baseball is dedicating the game to veterans and their families, and Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, were scheduled to participate in a pregame ceremony.

The president, meanwhile, continued on to the final stop on his bus trip, a speech at a fire station in North Chesterfield, Va., where he made one more appeal for his jobs bill, this time focusing on his call for $35 billion in aid for state and local governments in order to keep fire fighters, police officers and teachers on the job.

Republicans have criticized Obama's bus trip through two states his campaign wants to win in 2012 as being more about selling the president's re-election than solving the country's economic woes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday: "Let's park the campaign bus, put away the talking points, and do something to address this jobs crisis."

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