Some of his questioners never even bothered to ask him questions, and the president used the format to offer broad, if sometimes wonkish, explanations of his agenda.
People asked him about education, health care, broadband cable and the cost of prescription drugs. One woman told him she had cancer and had been waiting for days to ask him a question about Social Security, although the president missed the chance to sympathize with her about her health when he responded with a defense of Social Security.
Obama began his remarks at the town hall with what's becoming a refrain: criticizing Congress, accusing lawmakers of putting politics ahead of the country and calling on voters to tell them to cut it out.
"You've got to send a message to Washington that it's time for the games to stop, it's time to put country first," Obama said.
"If you can do the right thing, then folks in Washington have to do the right thing," the president said. "And if we do that, there is not a problem that we face that we cannot solve."
Appearing in Cannon Falls ahead of Obama's town hall, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus rallied a few dozen tea party members and College Republicans.
"We won't stand idly by while he uses our hard-earned tax dollars to spin his failure to put America back to work," Priebus said.
After his event in Cannon Falls, Obama got back in his black, unmarked bus to drive south into Iowa where he holds another town hall Monday afternoon in Decorah.
On Tuesday the president holds what the White House is billing as a "rural economic forum" in Peosta, Iowa, near the Illinois border, where he'll be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce some initiatives for rural areas. He'll wrap up Wednesday with town hall meetings in Atkinson in northwestern Illinois, and then in nearby Alpha, Ill., before returning to Washington. On Thursday he flies with his family to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts for his annual summer vacation.
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