(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama boasted about his taxpayer-funded bus during a stop in Jamestown, N.C. on Tuesday as part of the three-day American Jobs Act tour that some critics say resembles a campaign tour.
“Now, you may have heard we’re taking a little road trip this week. It’s a chance to get out of Washington,” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “I must admit I’m traveling not in the usual RV. The bus we got parked outside is -- Secret Service did a full going over, so it's decked out pretty good. But it's a wonderful opportunity to get out of Washington and hit the road.”
When Obama took a similar taxpayer trip through Midwestern battleground states in August, the Associated Press reported that the Secret Service purchased a bus for the trip at a cost of $1.1 million.
Republicans, including Obama’s 2008 opponent Arizona Sen. John McCain, criticized the use of the campaign-style bus reportedly manufactured in Canada. McCain told USA Today the president was “clearly campaigning” on the “taxpayer's dime.”
McCain further said, “I’ve never seen an uglier bus than the Canadian one he's traveling around on, a Canadian bus touting American jobs.”
The White House has said Obama is not campaigning, but rather is promoting his jobs proposals to the country, now broken into individual pieces after a larger $447-billion package failed to pass the Senate last week.
During his speech at the Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, N.C., Obama sought to sound a little more like the pragmatic unifying candidate of 2008.
Explaining why he was in North Carolina, he said, “first of all, it’s because I just like North Carolina,” a traditionally Republican-leaning state that he managed to win in 2008 and an expected battleground state in 2012.
“Second of all, I’m not the Democratic President or Republican President -- I’m the President,” Obama said. “And third of all, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat because we're all Americans and we are in this together. We don’t need a Republican jobs act, or a Democratic jobs act. We need a jobs act. We need to put people back to work right now.”
However, he mixed that unifying language with populist rhetoric demanding the wealthy to pay more taxes, saying that his plan would allow “everybody has got a fair shake and everybody gives their fair share.”
“What we have said is, in order to pay for the jobs plan and to close our deficit we should ask the very wealthiest Americans, top 2 percent, to pay a little bit more,” Obama said. “I can afford it. Warren Buffett, he can afford it. And the fact of the matter is, is that some of the wealthiest Americans pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans.”
He said most Americans would see their taxes cut under his proposal.
“Don’t fall for this notion that somehow the jobs act is proposing to raise your taxes,” Obama said. “It’s just not true. Under this -- here’s what will happen. If we don't pass the American Jobs Act, if we do not pass the provision in there that extends the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, most people here, your taxes will go up by $1,000. So voting no against the jobs bill is voting in favor of middle-class families’ income taxes going up.”