WHITE HOUSE (CNN) – Speaking to journalists aboard Air Force One Tuesday, President Obama continued to make the case his top aides have pressed this week: that public support for his stimulus proposal is far stronger than many reports have reflected. "I think if you took a look at the Gallup poll yesterday, the American people don't need convincing,” he said.
Fifty-one percent of those included in that Gallup survey conducted Friday and Saturday and released Monday said passing an economic stimulus plan of some kind was critically important. Another 29 percent said it was important, though not critical. In the same poll, those surveyed gave far higher marks to Obama’s handling of the economy than they did to Republican critics of his plan.
Obama’s foray back to the press area as he traveled to today’s Florida town hall meeting was his third in as many trips - a markedly different approach than that taken by his predecessor, former President Bush, who rarely ventured back into the press area.
The president is holding his second stimulus town hall in the Republican stronghold of Fort Myers, Florida, where median home prices have dropped by more than two thirds from their peak of $322,300.
“We just want to shine a spotlight on how severe this downturn is all across the country and to make sure that members of congress understand the sense of urgency that I feel," said Obama.
President Obama was accompanied on his trip by several Democratic members of Congress. Asked why no Republicans had joined him, he joked that none would come — and quickly added that he was only kidding.