EMPORIA, VA (WWBT)- The White House is insistent that this trip through two key swing states is not designed to Barack Obama's re-election hopes. But make no mistake, the president laid much of the blame for the problems in America on the republican party.
It was a phrase adopted in 2008 that helped lead then Senator Obama to the White House. It has been changed a bit to apply to the reality of 2012.
"Now is the time for us to say "yes we can," said Mister Obama to an enthusiastic crowd at Greensville County High School.
The president is hoping Congress will say "yes we can" to his "American Jobs Act", or at the very least make sure people in places like Emporia know who he believes is the reason it is not getting done.
"Last week, all the republicans in the United States Senate got together and they blocked this jobs bill," said Mister Obama.
The republicans were a major target in the speech, even though his plan has only lukewarm support from democrats in congress as well. But Mister Obama is hoping the American people can get both sides moving.
"I need you to give congress a piece of your mind," he said.
The president came here to what he described as GOP country to sell his American Jobs Act, but even his supporters in the room weren't sure that the message was going to get out to those who don't support him.
"Some people, they are not going to agree with certain things the president has to say no matter what," said Calvin Seetin, a teacher from Emporia who supports Obama's re-election.
Neal Davis from Valentine, VA was also in attendance. He did not vote for the president in 2008, but plans to in 2012. He is not sure his republican friends will make a similar break.
"A lot of times people have a very strong belief in their party," Davis said.
But today- Barack Obama made it clear that despite polls that show him in trouble in places like Virginia and North Carolina, that he is not going down without a fight.
"I'm not the Democratic President, I'm not the Republican President," said Mister Obama. "-- I'm the President."
A job he hopes to keep, beyond 2012.
While the president was well received, this event was a hand-picked audience filled with his supporters.
Along the way, there were reports that his motorcade was greeted by people waving signs saying things like "where are the jobs?"
An indication, that no matter what, re-election in Virginia will be tough.