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Obama bus tour begins in Minnesota

On the first leg of his three-day Midwestern bus tour, President Barack Obama today praised the productivity of American agriculture, but noted that many small farmers are still having difficulties.

Obama, speaking in Cannon Falls, Minn., said he would have more to say about agriculture and rural development at a session in Iowa on Tuesday.

In response to questions, he also noted that his administration had encouraged renewable energy development and helped bring broadband to rural America.

Obama was accompanied by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum.

At about 3:50 p.m. Central time, Obama made an unscheduled stop at a Chatfield, Minn., school where hundreds of local residents had turned out, according to a press pool report filed by Baird Helgeson, a Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter.

As he had his picture with school children, Obama told the children to say “cheese” and added, ““That’s the real trick to being president. You can’t blink. I don’t blink. That’s the most important thing.”