With Air Force One parked nearby on a runway he says needs to be modernized, President Barack Obama on Monday kicked off a three-day bus tour, urging a crowd to tell Congress to pass part of his $447 billion jobs package.

The bus tour through the states of North Carolina and Virginia – each considered a key swing state in the 2012 presidential election – comes days after Senate Republicans successfully blocked passage of legislation that Obama contends would spur job creation.

He urged an enthusiastic crowd at the regional airport here to reach out to members of Congress and pressure them to pass separate sections of his jobs bill.

“Some of these folks just aren’t getting the message,” he said, his voice sounding hoarse. “I need you to give Congress a piece of your mind.”