Obama wraps up Midwest swing

Aug. 18, 2011 at 1:01 AM
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ALPHA, Ill., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama wrapped up a three-day bus tour in the Midwest with an open-air town hall meeting Wednesday in a rural village in northwestern Illinois.

In his opening remarks at the Country Corner, a store in Alpha, the president talked of the economic problems facing the United States. He suggested the country has turned the corner with 2 million new jobs in the past year and a half.

"And so despite the fact that we've gone through tough times, I want everybody to remember we still have the best universities on Earth, the best workers on Earth, the best entrepreneurs on Earth, the best system on Earth," the president said. "There's not a country in the world that wouldn't trade places with the United States of America."

While Obama did not mention the Republican Party, he did talk of political deadlock.

"There's nothing wrong with our country, but there's a lot wrong with our politics right now," he said, echoing a theme he has emphasized repeatedly in recent days.

One woman in the audience asked Obama about the estate tax, saying some farm families in the area might be forced to sell their land if it returns to the 2001 level in 2013.

"Well, there's no reason why we have to go all the way back to the 2001 level," the president responded.

En route to Alpha, the president made a brief unscheduled stop at Galesburg High School, where he watched football practice.

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