Obama ditching DC to mingle with voters

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama sets out Monday for a three-day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The trip will give him a chance to hear directly from the public in a region that helped launch him to the White House in 2008 and where Republican presidential hopefuls are now battling it out.

The president will get a chance to absorb the public’s anger and try his best to respond as he holds five town hall events in three days. In between he’ll drive long stretches of farmland and rural highways, likely making unscheduled stops here and there at local eateries and other gathering places. The tour kicks off in Minneapolis.

The president has spent much of the summer so far enmeshed in bitterly partisan negotiations on the debt crisis.