From barbecue to Bieber on Obama bus tour

October 19, 2011 • National News

President Barack Obama stops to visit with people on the side of the road in Brodnax, Va, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Obama is on a three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

EMPORIA, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama said he wanted to use his bus trip through rural North Carolina and Virginia to hear directly from the American people.

So he took questions on jobs, Social Security and education. Oh, and on pop star Justin Bieber.

It was all part of the mix of spontaneous interactions and unplanned photo ops — along with plenty of standard campaign stump speeches — that have made up Obama’s three-day bus tour through a succession of small Southern towns where he’s selling both his jobs bill and himself.

Bookended by two speeches on his economic measures, Obama made a five-hour-plus drive from the Greensboro, N.C., area to Emporia, Va., on Tuesday, making unscheduled stops along the way.

“I decided to get out of Washington and hit the open road,” Obama said.

The president, who has ditched his standard suit coat and tie for the trip, picked up lunch at Reid’s House Login to read more

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