Romney: Iowa May Choose Next President

By James Lynch, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Republican Mitt Romney framed the 2012 presidential election as a "very dramatic choice between two different paths" in a Sunday evening tele-town hall with Iowans.

The choices are more of the same — another stimulus bill with "trillions of dollars of additional debt laid on the country ... higher taxes and massive increases in regulations," Romney said during the call.

"We know the results of that kind of a plan because we've seen it played out over the last four years," he said. "I don't think we can afford four more years like the last four years."

Responding to the call, the Obama for America campaign said that if Romney wants to pay for his "budget-busting $5 trillion tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, he'll have to raise taxes by $2,000 on the average middle-class family with children."

In the call the Romney campaign made to tens of thousands of Iowans, Romney made a plea for them to start voting this week. Early voting starts Sept. 27, and all indications are that absentee ballot requests from Democrats are far outnumber requests from registered Republicans.

However, in Iowa, which remains a battleground state, Republicans have overtaken Democrats in voter registration. So whether they vote early or on Election Day Nov. 6, Romney is hoping to carry Iowa.

"For all we know, Iowa could be the state that chooses the next president," Romney said.

Romney attacked President Obama's changes to Medicare, which, according to the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa, will reduce payments to hospitals and insurance companies.

That $716 billion shift could mean that some 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes won't accept more Medicare patients, Romney said.

"That could be a real problem in rural communities where there are not lots of opportunities to choose different hospitals or nursing homes, where there might be only one hospital anywhere near where someone lives," Romney said.

The Obama administration contends the $716 billion shift will be offset by additional revenues from getting uninsured patients into Health Benefit Exchanges starting in 2014.

Romney's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system would raise seniors' health costs by nearly $6,400 a year, and by repealing ObamaCare, would raise prescription drug costs and take away free preventative care for current recipients, according to the Obama campaign.

Romney insisted the president's change to Medicare "is a real threat to the capacity of people in some of our smaller communities to get the kind of health care they like and they want.

His plan, Romney added, "is very much to keep the commitment to our rural communities alive and well."

He also called for re-invigorating the economy by "taking advantage of the energy resources we have." He also wants to seek new trade opportunities and crack down on China's trade abuses, Romney said. He also would schools and training programs "to give people the skills they need to succeed," getting the federal government on track toward a balanced budget and by being a champion of small business.
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