Government to aid farmers and ranchers
August 13th, 2012
04:06 PM ET

Government to aid farmers and ranchers

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CNN) – President Obama mixed business and campaigning on Monday, holding a rally and an official event on the first leg of a three-day bus tour across the Hawkeye State.

After delivering his campaign stump speech here at Bayliss Park, the president and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stopped by a drought-ravaged farm in the Missouri Valley to officially announce a new initiative to aid farmers and ranchers.

Calling the current conditions the worst “in decades,” the president outlined actions his administration has taken to address the crisis, including the approval of emergency loans, opening federal lands for grazing and providing money to help get water to livestock.

The administration’s actions also include a new initiative, announced Monday morning in a statement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to purchase up to $170 million of “pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.”

While the government couldn't make it rain, the president said that as a major consumer of U.S. meat products, it could assist struggling farmers and ranchers by purchasing the food now and freezing it for future consumption.
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Topics: 2012 Election
Obama calls Mars Rover team and asks about life on the Red Planet
This image, released by NASA on August 9th, shows part of Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.
August 13th, 2012
12:41 PM ET

Obama calls Mars Rover team and asks about life on the Red Planet

WHITE HOUSE (CNN) - President Obama called the members of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover team on Monday to congratulate them on the rover’s recent landing on Mars but he also asked for a heads up if they find any signs of life.

“If in fact, you do make contact with Martians please let me know right away,” the president joked. “Because I've got a lot of other things on my plate but I suspect that that will go to the top of the list – even if they're just microbes, it will be pretty exciting.”

Mr. Obama spoke to seven team members in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California where the rover’s mission control is located. Curiosity landed on the surface of Mars last week and will spend the next two years investigating whether or not there is, or has been, life on the planet.

The president called their accomplishments ‘incredibly impressive’ and ‘mind-boggling’.

“What you've accomplished embodies the American spirit and your passion and your commitment is making a difference and your hard work is now paying dividends,” Obama said. “Because our expectation is that Curiosity is going to be telling us things that we did not know before and laying the groundwork for an even more audacious undertaking in the future and that's a human mission to the Red Planet.”

He also said the group’s mission will continue to inspire children across the country.

“They're telling their moms and dads they want to be part of a Mars mission, maybe even the first person to walk on Mars and that kind of inspiration is the byproduct of work of the sort that you guys have done,” he added.

The president made the phone call while aboard Air Force One en route to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, where he will begin his three-day campaign bus tour through the neighboring state of Iowa.


Topics: NASA • President Obama
Obama to target Ryan in Iowa
August 13th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

Obama to target Ryan in Iowa

Council Bluffs, Iowa (CNN) - With Mitt Romney's newly minted running-mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) also campaigning in Iowa this week, President Obama plans to take a swipe at the vice presidential hopeful here during the first stop of a three-day bus tour across the Hawkeye state.

"He’s one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way," the president is expected to say, referring to the Farm Bill, which is awaiting congressional approval and that the president believes will provide much needed relief for farmers and ranchers in Iowa and across the country.

"So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away," the president is expected to say in Council Bluffs according to transcripts released by his re-election campaign.
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Topics: 2012 Election • Iowa • President Obama
POTUS's schedule for Monday, August 13: Iowa bus tour
August 13th, 2012
08:03 AM ET

POTUS's schedule for Monday, August 13: Iowa bus tour

After holding five fundraisers in his hometown of Chicago, President Obama kicks off a three-day bus tour of Iowa today.  Later this morning, he'll head to Iowa by way of Omaha. He'll board Ground Force One, by no means the official name of the bus, and make his way to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Along the way, we expect him to stop for meet and greets with locals in some other towns. He's been known to stop at diners for breakfast or country stores or farmers' markets. Later this evening, he has another campaign event in Boone, Iowa.

For the official guidance released by the White House, click below. FULL POST


Topics: 2012 Election • Bus Tour • Daily Schedule • Iowa