RNC ready to counter Obama bus tour

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus will be on the ground in Minnesota on Monday for the first stop of President Obama's bus tour, part of an effort by the GOP to offer counter-programming to the bus tour.

The RNC will launch radio ads, autodialed phone calls and Web videos in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, the three states where Obama will stop during a three-day bus tour through the Midwest intended to promote the economy and job creation.

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And Priebus will be in Cannon Falls, Minn., on Monday morning for a rally meant to kick off the "Obama's Debt-End Tour," as the RNC is calling it, coinciding with the president's tour.

"This latest White House PR stunt shows why elections matter, and why we must defeat Barack Obama in 2012 so that his Debt-End Bus-Tour presidency doesn’t steer the country further off course," Priebus said in a statement.

Obama will "discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation and hear directly from Americans," the White House said in its description of Monday's stop in Minnesota, from which he'll leave to travel to Iowa.

But Republicans have raised suspicions about the tour's political overtones, since Obama will be traveling to key swing states he needs to win in his 2012 reelection campaign. Moreover, his time in Iowa follows a heavy GOP presence this weekend by Republican presidential candidates, who flooded the state in hopes of winning the straw poll in Ames. Priebus and the chairman of the Minnesota GOP are slated to hold a conference call with reporters to decry "Obama's taxpayer-funded bus tour."

In a way, the RNC chairman's on-the-scene efforts mirror what Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, had done over the weekend in Iowa, holding press availabilities to counter the Republican presidential candidates. Priebus is playing a similar opposition role with his rally in Minnesota.

"For all his talk of getting Americans back to work, President Obama has yet to get to work himself," he said. "Every day that he spends at a fundraiser, on Martha’s Vineyard or paying lip service to our nation’s problems is another day that the unemployed continue to hunger for competent leadership from this president."