President Obama's Midwestern bus tour stopped at a county fair in northwestern Illinois Wednesday morning, and as he heads south for two town hall meetings in Atkinson and Alpha, Ill., one of his biggest critics is asking him to swing by the Chicago suburbs to "talk to real folks in an open unscripted format."
Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, who his currently embroiled in a legal battle over allegedly unpaid child support, invited Obama to "co-host" a town hall meeting with him in Illinois "at his earliest convenience," according to a statement on his website:
“If taxpayers are going to foot the bill for this new $1.1 million bus and all the expenses that come with this trip, the President better not use this tax dollar-funded trip to give just another campaign stump speech," Walsh said. "It is for this reason that I would like to invite the President to co-host a town hall meeting with me at his earliest convenience. This will make certain the President hears the same unfiltered message I hear every day from Illinois residents."
Obama has stopped in Minnesota and Iowa in recent days, where he has addressed unemployment, his plans for job growth and rural development initiatives. Walsh said in a statement that he does not believe Obama is serious about helping Americans get back to work.
"I have held over 60 town halls since coming to Congress this past January and at each one of them, I hear the same message: Americans are fed up with this Administration and its failure to improve our economy," Walsh said in a statement. "They are also sick and tired of all the regulations his Administration has burdened small business with and all the government spending he has burdened us and future generations with.”
Walsh isn't the only Republican slamming Obama for his bus tour. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Crain's columnist Greg Hinz that Obama loves "playing campaigner in chief," and Illinois Republican Party chairman, Pat Brady, blamed Obama and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for the state's financial woes and high sales tax.
"If you want to come to a state that's completely screwed up, by not only national Democrats, but also local Democrats, then I invite you to come to Illinois," Brady said, according to CBS News.
The Democratic National Committee spokesman defended Obama's bus tour to Hinz:
"It's telling that the Republican Party, which believes corporations are people, would attack the president for meeting with Americans in their communities."