August 17th, 2011
03:38 PM ET
ATKINSON, Illinois (CNN) - On the final day of his three-day Midwest bus tour, President Obama returned to the state that first elected him, visiting Wyffels Hybrids, a corn seed producer in Atkinson, Illinois.
The president continued this week's theme of praising America’s resilience while criticizing its politics, saying that this week’s trip through Middle America has reminded him why he ran for office in the first place.
“I will tell you when I travel through downstate Illinois, when I travel through Iowa, when I travel through the Midwest, I am absolutely confident about this country. And the reason is because of you. The reason is because of the American people,” the president said. “But there is something wrong with our politics.”
"We’re all for supporting a town hall meeting where Americans can speak out,” Wyffels said. Adding, “and you don’t say no to the president.”
Wyffels was cautious not to paint himself as an avid Obama supporter.
“Regardless of your political position it’s an honor to have him come,” Wyffels said. “[Wyffels Hybrids] is not a Republican or a Democratic company. We have 110 employees and we’ve got Republicans and Democrats.”
This sentiment of respecting the office of the presidency, regardless of who’s holding it, appeared prevalent in Atkinson today. Rock Katschnig, a conservative corn and soybean farmer who farms 3,500 acres of land down the road from Wyffels, said that the president’s visit was one of the best things that has happened in Atkinson, even if he disagrees with Obama’s politics.
Katschnig sells one hundred percent of his corn to an ethanol facility six miles down the road, and said he’s sympathetic to the president’s calls for shared sacrifice, even if that means cuts to ethanol subsidies. His main concern today was government over-regulation – a concern he got to share with the president about during today’s town hall.
“Please don’t challenge us with more rules and regulations in Washington, D.C. that hinder us from doing that,” Katschnig said. “We would prefer to start our day in a tractor cab or combine cab, rather than filling out forms and permits to do what we like to do.”
Arriving near the end of a three-state swing in a region where agriculture is one of the most important industries, President Obama encouraged Katschnig to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture directly rather than worry about rumors. But he was quick to reassure him by saying, “Nobody’s more interested in seeing our agricultural sector successful than I am.”
A point the president is sure to make again when he answers one last round of questions Wednesday afternoon at the Country Corner Farm Market on the other side of Henry County in Alpha, Illinois.