President Obama is on a three-day bus tour of the Midwest, in which he'll talk about how he'd fix the economy and create jobs if it weren't for those all-no-all-the-time Republicans in Congress. Fox News' Chris Stirewalt writes that, in the wake of the weekend's big stories about Republicans in Iowa, Obama "is engaged for the next three days in what political operatives call 'bracketing' -- a technique by which you horn in on the media attention being paid to your competitor and muck up their message." So what is the GOP going to do? Bracket right back.
Obama opens his roadtrip with a speech in Cannon Falls, Minn., Monday afternoon. But in the hours before Obama's arrival, the Republican National Committee's Reince Priebus hosted a rally in Cannon Falls, kicking off the RNC's own bus tour, to be called the "Debt-End Bus Tour," or "DEBT," the Daily Caller's Amanda Carey reports. And it's airing radio ads in all three states Obama will be traveling in--Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois--plus TV ads in Minnesota and Iowa. Not only will Republicans attack Obama on jobs, they'll also attack the trip "as thinly disguised taxpayer paid campaigning," the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports.
Meanwhile, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney will do some "bracketing" of his own, NBC News' First Read says. Romney has his own name for Obama's roudtrip, the Magical Misery Bus Tour, and his campaign released an online ad tailored to Obama's first destination, titled "Obama Isn't Working: Minnesota."
The Hill's Sam Youngman says "Obama is venturing out for what is essentially the first campaign swing of his 2012 reelection effort." And First Read argues that this part of the country is crucial to the president because "it's where he achieved so much success in the '08 primaries and later general election. And he needs it to get back on track." Why is Obama visiting these specific little towns? USA Today's Richard Wolf notes that residents "are likely to be supportive of the president," because,
Although Goodhue County [home of Cannon Falls] ... leans Republican, its unemployment rate began to drop in March 2009, shortly after Obama came into office. It's now 6.8%, right around the state average.