OMAHA, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama is following his final State of the Union address with a road show version of his message.
The president called Republican rhetoric "baloney" in a speech at the University of Nebraska, Omaha Wednesday on a two-day trip through Nebraska and Louisiana -- decidedly red states -- offering his own perspective on the previous eight years and where the country goes from here.
"When you hear people peddling this fiction about our enemies getting stronger, America getting weaker, when you hear folks say we can solve challenges just by looking meaner and talking tougher or carpet bombing wherever we want, you know that's just hot air. It's bluster. It's not serious," the president said to a crowd of about 8,000.
The visit to Nebraska was only the second of his presidency, but it puts the president near voters in neighboring Iowa, where the first caucuses of the 2016 presidential race take place in just a few weeks.
"You hear a bunch of folks right across the river and I don't know if the TV has drifted over here, but they're kind of depressing," he said. "I like talking about hope and all the good stuff, but if it's going on, and you look at some of these ads and it's some doom and some gloom."
Obama stopped in Papillion before the speech to visit the home of high school teacher Lisa Martin, who emailed the president a year ago about the world her son would grow up in.
"Look at these things," Obama told Martin's toddler, who seemed confused by all the reporters jammed into their house. The president gave him some advice.
"If you can't say anything that they might quote you on. ..., " and intentionally left the thought unfinished.