Obama fences, parries at start of Midwestern tour

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) ? President Barack Obama’s Midwestern tour is offering a mix of offense and defense that signals both his governing approach for the remainder of his term and the evolution of a campaign message for his re-election bid.

Obama is using the reach of his office to build public pressure on Republicans to move his way on economic and fiscal policies, to counterpunch against the GOP presidential field, and to argue for his presidency with independent voters and Democrats alike.

On Tuesday, the second day of a three-day trip, he is to promote rural economic policies, among a series of remedies he is pushing to fire up anemic job growth. Obama is encouraging his audiences to demand that members of Congress act or else be voted out of office.