The U.S. economy is weak and "we're still going through difficult circumstances," President Barack Obama said before the last day of his jobs bill bus tour.
"I guarantee it's going to be a close election because the economy is not where it wants to be," Obama told the ABC News program "Nightline" on Day 2 of his three-day bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia to drum up support for his $447 billion American Jobs Act -- now broken into its component parts after the Senate defeated the overall bill Oct. 11 by refusing to let it come up for a vote.
"And even though I believe all the choices we've made have been the right ones, we're still going through difficult circumstances," Obama said.
"That means people who may be sympathetic to my point of view still kind of feel like, yeah, but it still hasn't gotten done yet," he said.
Obama said he understands people are frustrated with the weak economy, and some have turned to Occupy Wall Street protests.
"In some ways, they're not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party," Obama told "Nightline." "Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren't looking out for them."
Tea Party organizers vehemently reject comparisons to the Occupy movement.
"The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side," Obama said.
He said people don't feel like they're getting a "fair shake." But he said his jobs plan would help ensure people are treated fairly.
First lady Michelle Obama was to join Obama at 10:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Va., to talk about the jobs plan and the importance of hiring service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House said.
Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a vocal Obama critic, planned to attend the veterans event, McDonnell's office said.
McDonnell, a veteran, "has set a goal of making Virginia 'The Most Veteran-Friendly State in America' and he is interested in hearing the president's thoughts on this important issue," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin was quoted in The Washington Post as saying.
Obama was then to travel to a firehouse in North Chesterfield, Va., near Richmond, where he was expected around 2:40 p.m. to call on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act piece by piece, "beginning with the proposal to provide funding to prevent teacher layoffs and hire police officers and firefighters," the White House said.
Obama was then to head to Richmond International Airport to return to Washington, arriving at the White House around 4:40 p.m.