Continued from page 1

“I appreciate the ‘four more years,’ ” Mr. Obama told the crowd. “But right now I’m thinking about the next 13 months. A lot of folks can’t wait.”

As the presidential motorcade snaked through the Blue Ridge Mountains on Monday, there were “long stretches on a serpentine road with no onlookers at all,” according to a pool reporter traveling with Mr. Obama. When onlookers were present, they offered views at odds with Mr. Obama’s message. A woman held up a cardboard sign that said, “We Believe, We Voted. Now What?”

The president stopped for lunch at Countryside Barbecue in Marion, N.C. (population 8,075), where he met paramedic Chad Robinson, 38.

“He was asking about our budget and if we had any layoffs,” Mr. Robinson said. “And we advised him that there are no layoffs, but budgets have been tight. And he said he’s going to start working on that and try to help us plan for that with the jobs plan.”

At another table, Mr. Obama spoke with Dan Kuehnert, a lawyer who pressed the president to reduce government regulations. The president replied that his administration was trying to reduce burdensome rules. But Mr. Obama added, “Now I got to tell you, there are some regulations that make sure our kids get safe food, so we got to balance that.”