Obama in Greensboro after tour of Western NC - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Obama in Greensboro after tour of Western NC

Posted: Updated:
The scene at Mast General Store in Boone on Monday afternoon. The black bus is on the right behind the yellow vertical flag. (Source: Morgan Redmond on Facebook) The scene at Mast General Store in Boone on Monday afternoon. The black bus is on the right behind the yellow vertical flag. (Source: Morgan Redmond on Facebook)
The crowd gathers in Wilkes Co. on Monday afternoon (Source: WBTV's Tom Roussey) The crowd gathers in Wilkes Co. on Monday afternoon (Source: WBTV's Tom Roussey)
Obama waves to the crowd in Asheville on Monday morning. Obama waves to the crowd in Asheville on Monday morning.

WILKES COUNTY, NC (WBTV/AP) - President Barack Obama is in Greensboro after spending Monday on a bus tour of western North Carolina areas like Asheville, Boone, and Wilkes County.

Obama has returned to North Carolina to try and sell Americans on his plan to reduce unemployment and get the sluggish economy moving.

Obama arrived in Asheville just before 11 am Monday and spoke there for about 25 minutes.

After 11:30, he boarded a black armored bus, code named Ground Force One. Later he passed through Lenoir and then headed to the Mast General Store, which is a famous store in Boone founded in 1883. (Click here for details of the visit to Boone and the Mast General Store)

Obama's big bus went through downtown and arrived at the store for a short time around 3 pm. He then got out and began talking to folks and looking at merchandise and candy.

 Later he also went to Boone Drug Downtown for a short time.

Around 4 pm, he arrived in Millers Creek in Wilkes County, where he spoke at West Wilkes High School before an enthusiastic crowd.

This is the second outing for the $1.1 million bus -- a behemoth with blacked-out windows and flashing red-and-blue lights.

The president stopped in Boone as part of a 4 hour, 35 minute drive through the mountains to Millers Creek.  

On Tuesday, he'll be in Greensboro and Jamestown before the tour takes him to Virginia.

The North Carolina Republican Party has called the tour a campaign stunt paid for with tax dollars.

But the White House says Obama is wants get out and visit with people in small towns and rural areas who he normally doesn't get to see.

Republicans normally win North Carolina and Virginia in presidential elections, but Obama won them both in 2008, and both states are important to his re-election strategy. This marks Obama's third visit to North Carolina since June.

Hundreds of people waited in line outside of West Wilkes High School Sunday in hopes of getting a ticket to see President Obama.

Some folks say they stood for 8 hours just to make sure they'd get in.

"It's hard to believe he would come to Wilkes County," James Wells said.

It is the same county where only 31 percent of folks voted for Obama in 2008.

President Obama says the passage of the jobs act would provide up to $900 million for North Carolina to save 13,400 jobs, including some at West Wilkes High.

Asked if tours to rural America will help sell the President's message, Catawba College Political Science Professor Dr. Michael Bitzer says, "if he can try to make some in roads in the rural places that John McCain won substantially, maybe he can start chipping away at some of that Republican advantage."

"North Carolina is a lot like the rest of the country in terms of urban voters being much more Democrat and rural voters being much more Republican. We saw that in 2008. Whenever a battleground state comes around, you have to look at where the votes are going to be coming from and for the most part 15 counties in NC deliver 50% of the vote," Bitzer said.

Copyright 2011 WBTV and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

 

Powered by WorldNow