1. ON THE ROAD

    Obama Pushes Tax Hikes on Bus Tour

    Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

    As his approval rating hit an all-time low, President Obama began a trip to salvage his public image and shift focus to what the country needs: job growth. The president is at the start of a three-day bus tour Monday to hold town-hall meetings in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. "What's needed is action on the part of Congress," he said during an event in Cannon Falls, Minn., just 50 miles north of the hometown of GOP candidate Michele Bachmann. Obama pointed out that he's been trying to get lawmakers to enact a payroll-tax cut and infrastructure programs. Obama also pushed for his "balanced" deficit-reduction plan, which includes tax hikes on the wealthy as well as budget cuts, noting that Warren Buffett called on Congress to give fewer tax breaks to billionaires like him. Republicans view the visit as a campaign trip in disguise, especially to the key state of Iowa.

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