Advertisement - story continues below
President Barack Obama hits the road on Monday for a Midwestern bus tour that he hopes will leave doubts over his leadership behind in Washington.
But the three-day trip through Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois — three states seen as vital to his 2012 re-election campaign — could put him in front of voters who, polls show, are furious about political gridlock in the U.S. capital.
Iowa, which launched Obama’s historic journey to the White House in 2008, has recently been playing host to Republican presidential hopefuls who have aggressively slammed his record as they criss-cross the state.
The White House says the president is on listening tour to hear from Americans about the economy and to talk about how to boost jobs and hiring. There are no plans for a major policy speech to roll out new initiatives for growth.
The unmistakable campaign style of the trip will help Obama, a Democrat, test his organization and grassroots support as the Republican presidential field begins to take shape.
Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination on Saturday and is expected to join Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann as one of the stronger Republican candidates. Bachmann won an Iowa straw poll on Saturday in the first big test for the Republican candidates.
Hundreds lined up for tickets to see Obama in Cannon Falls this Wednesday.