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Obama Meeting With KC Residents        07/29 06:19

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is taking four Kansas City 
residents out to dinner to chew over the concerns of heartland Americans, with 
little time remaining for action on pressing issues before Congress begins its 
August recess.

   Obama's Tuesday night gathering comes roughly 48 hours before Congress is 
set to go on a five-week break and is the latest in a series of trips the 
president has taken to meet Americans who have written him about their 
struggles and worries. Obama has been using their stories to criticize 
congressional Republicans in this midterm election campaign for failing to act 
on his legislative agenda.

   Before Congress leaves town, the White House is pressing lawmakers to 
approve an overhaul of the Veterans Affairs health care system and funding to 
deal with an influx of children streaming in across the southern border. 
Leading Republicans, meanwhile, have criticized Obama for spending his time 
raising campaign cash instead of negotiating on complex problems.

   "The president just wants to sit back and play politics," incoming House 
Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana said on "Fox News Sunday." ''He's 
flying around the country doing fundraisers. He doesn't have time to sit down 
and work with Congress."

   Unlike other travel across the country in recent weeks, Obama doesn't plan 
any political fundraisers while overnighting in Kansas City, Missouri, for the 
dinner and a speech on the economy Wednesday. Obama's chief spokesman, Josh 
Earnest, is a native of the city, and called four Obama letter writers from his 
hometown Monday to invite them to dine with the president.

   The White House promoted an online video of Earnest making the calls with 
his Kansas City Royals banner prominent in the background of his West Wing 

   The White House said the Kansas City letter writers included a man who 
thanked Obama for student loan help he received, a single mother who described 
her challenges raising children and running a business, a teacher in a GED 
program and a woman who is active in her neighborhood association.

   Before his evening flight, Obama planned to meet privately with wounded 
service members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 
Bethesda, Maryland.


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