Obama begins five-state tour

Aug 17th, 2010 | By politicsnews | Category: Politics

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Politics drove President Barack Obama’s agenda Monday as he hit the first of the five states he’ll visit over the next three days, using economy-focused events — and Democratic fundraisers — to attack Republicans less than three months before the midterm elections.

“The worst mistake we could make is to go back to doing what we were doing that got us into the mess that we were in,” Obama said in a speech at an electric battery manufacturer outside of Milwaukee, where he tried to make the most of the country’s few tangible economic successes.

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“I’ll be honest with you; there’s going to be a big debate about where we go. There are folks in Washington right now who think we should abandon our efforts to support clean energy,” Obama continued. “They made the political calculation that it’s better to stand on the sidelines than work as a team to help American businesses and American workers.”

Obama’s cross-country swing kick-started a three-tiered focus on the economy. He began at ZBB Energy Corp., showcasing how clean energy initiatives can revive the nation’s shrinking manufacturing sector. “We expect our commitment to clean energy to lead to more than 800,000 jobs by 2012,” Obama said, citing the year that coincides with his reelection campaign. “And that’s not just creating work in the short term. That’s going to help lay a new foundation for lasting growth.”

In Seattle on Tuesday, Obama will highlight small businesses, and on Wednesday he plans a sit-down with an average family in Columbus, Ohio. In between the economic events, Obama is slated to raise millions of dollars for Democrats in Wisconsin, California, Washington, Ohio and Florida.

The president’s first stop on the campaign-cash trail is in Milwaukee on Tuesday for Tom Barrett, the Democrat the White House recruited to run for Wisconsin governor.

Local Republicans began attacking Obama’s visit days before he arrived, and by the time the president touched down in Wisconsin GOP criticism of his economic policies — and his short political coattails — was in full swing.

“Obama’s coattails are more like an anchor tied around a candidate’s neck,” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, told reporters on a conference call while Obama was touring ZBB Energy. “At the end of the day, politically Obama is not a plus for Tom Barrett.”

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