The president is using his trip to the heartland to outline modest economic proposals.
"I'm announcing that we're ramping up our efforts to get capital to small businesses in rural areas," Obama pledged during his three-day bus tour of the Midwest.
Obama, Perry Face Off
He's also trying to grab some of the spotlight from the GOP presidential candidates - especially newcomer Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- following last weekend's Iowa straw poll.
Just days into the race, Perry has lost no time going after the president and his economic track record.
"One in six job-ready Americans don't have a job," he charged. "That is not a recovery Mr. President. That is an economic disaster."
The president in turn is working to link Perry and the rest of the GOP field to the Tea Party, which he blames for the Washington gridlock.
"The refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party, and that has to stop," Obama said. "Our economy cannot afford it."
A new survey indicates the president's strategy might work.
A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 40 percent of American adults had a "not favorable" view of the tea party. That's just slightly higher than the president's standing in a recent Gallup poll.
Obama's New Jobs Plan
Meanwhile, Obama says he plans to unveil a new strategy in September intended to speed up job growth as well as lend a helping hand to the poor and middle class.
The White House says the plan will have "fresh ideas, " including tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
The president will also present a specific plan to cut the deficit, laying out $1.5 trillion in budget cuts.
"My attitude is, get it done," he said in one Iowa town hall on Monday. "And if they (lawmakers) don't get it done, then we'll be running against a Congress that's not doing anything for the American people, and the choice will be very stark and will be very clear."