Vote 2012: Obama Pledges to Offer "A Better Path Forward" Than Romney
By Rod Boshart, Reporter
URBANDALE, Iowa – President Barack Obama on Saturday told Iowans who launched him in 2008 that he plans to offer “a better path forward” at this week’s Democratic National Convention than the “tired, trickle down” policies that GOP opponent Mitt Romney laid out after landing the Republican presidential nomination.
Bolstering the middle class by protecting health-care options and assisting returning veterans, debt-strapped college students and struggling small businesses were among the themes Obama touched on during a 20-minute address to an estimated 10,000 supporters. It ended in time for him to keep a promise of wrapping up the campaign stop so Iowans could still watch the Hawkeye and Cyclone football games.
Obama used his seventh visit to Iowa this year to deride Romney for failing to mention U.S. military involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan during his televised acceptance speech in Tampa and for failing to offer any specific details on how he planned to turn around the U.S. economy and create 12 million jobs. He said Republicans talked about hard truths and bold ideas, “but nobody bothered to tell you what they were,” the president told a crowd at Living History Farms that broke into chants of “four more years” during his “Road to Charlotte” tour’s kickoff event.
“Iowa, they have tried to sell us these tired, trickle-down, you’re-on-your-own policies before. They did not work, they’ve never worked. They won’t create jobs, they won’t cut our deficit, they will not strengthen our middle class. They are not a plan to move our country forward,” Obama said. At time the crowd booed the GOP approach, prompting the president to tell the gathering of supporters: “Don’t boo – vote.”
The Illinois Democrat told Iowans they lived through the same GOP policies of providing tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and weakening government regulations designed to protect the country “and you can’t afford to repeat it.” He said the country could not afford to spend the next four years fighting the same political battles of the past four years.
“We believe in something better. We believe in an America that says our economic strength has never come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up and it comes from the middle out,” Obama said.
“We believe in an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, you can pursue your own happiness and you can make it if you try,” the president added.
Obama said he decided to begin the process whereby he will officially accept his presidential nomination at the 46th Democratic National Convention with grassroots events in Des Moines and Sioux City because it was Iowans during the 2008 caucus season who “kept us going when the pundits were writing us off.”
“It will be Iowa that chooses the path we take from here,” said Obama, who has spent considerable time campaigning in a battleground state with six electoral votes where recent polls show the 2012 race is tightening.
Not far from the Obama rally site, Romney supporters made phone calls urging Iowans to elect a leader that will put the country back on the right track, said Romney campaign Iowa spokesman Shawn McCoy.
“President Obama dubbed this trip the ‘Road to Charlotte’ but his policies have taken us on a road to declining incomes, higher unemployment and more uncertainty for the middle class. And in the face of a record of failure, he offered no new solutions, just misleading attacks,” McCoy said. “Mitt Romney has the plan to do what President Obama can’t – create 12 million new jobs, increase take-home pay, and bring relief to the struggling middle class.”
Obama is desperate to hold on to the state that launched him to the White House, McCoy added, but four years after “hope and change” inspired Iowans, they’re only left with disappointment after the president’s broken promises to slash the deficit in half, create millions of new jobs, and strengthen the middle class.
During his speech, Obama sounded familiar themes of ending tax cuts for the rich, putting more effort into education, tax reform and debt reduction, and bolstering America’s energy production by keeping tax credits for wind production while paring back the reliance on a highly subsidized oil industry. By contrast, he said, Romney and his GOP allies have advocated ideas “better suited for the last century” that will hurt the middle class and the needy.
“It was a rerun,” Obama said of the televised GOP national convention in Tampa. “We’d seen it before. You might as well have watched it on a black and white TV.”
“They talked a lot about me, they talked a lot about him (Romney), but they didn’t say much about you,” he noted.
During his warm-up speech at the Obama rally, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told the crowd “You know the Republicans have a real problem when their No. 1 challenge and goal in Tampa was to humanize their candidate.” He said the Labor Day weekend marks the start of an eight-week campaign season that offers voters a fundamental choice: “are we going to rescue, restore and rebuild the middle class in this country or are we going to continue to shift even more wealth to the few at the top?”
Obama warned Iowa voters that they can expect to see pro-Romney Super PACs “spend more money than we’ve ever seen” in a negative campaign designed to discourage voter participation.
“I’m counting on you and I need your help,” he said in urging them to visit the Gottaregister.com and Gottavote.com web sites to begin absentee voting as early as Sept. 22. “We’ve come too far to turn back now. We will finish what we started.”
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