Vote 2012: President Obama Focusing on Iowa

By Bruce Aune, Anchor/Reporter

President Barack Obama greets the crowd during a campaign stop at the Living History Farms Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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By Aaron Hepker

URBANDALE, Iowa - With six electoral votes up for grabs, Iowa is among a handful of battleground states heading into the November presidential election. And President Barack Obama’s campaign is well aware of the state’s importance — he has made seven trips to Iowa since January.

“We’re at a time in this country when politics are still pretty divided, and no campaign’s gonna be a blowout,” he said. “But we are trying to make sure people here in Iowa know that every day when I wake up, I’m thinking about how to make life a little bit better for middle-class families.”

On Saturday, nearly 10,000 people attended Obama’s campaign rally in central Iowa; he traveled to Sioux City later in the day. His latest visit came just a few days after Mitt Romney accepted his own party’s presidential nomination during the Republican National Convention. In his acceptance speech, Romney told the nation that the hope and change Obama had promised, and that America voted for, never happened.

“‘Hope and change’ had a powerful appeal,” Romney said. “But tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?”

In an exclusive interview Saturday with KCRG-TV9, Obama responded to his opponent’s speech.

“I think not only Governor Romney, but the other party generally in that convention spoke a lot about how the economy’s in a tough situation recovering from the worst recession we’ve had since the Great Depression,” Obama said. “They talked a lot about how this must be my fault. They didn’t offer plans for how we move forward. And I’m gonna have an opportunity next week to share with the American people my vision for how we continue to bring manufacturing back instead of shipping jobs overseas.”

So what concerns Obama most about the prospect of a Romney presidency? “Well, you know this is not personal. This is not an issue just between two candidates. This is really two different philosophies,” he said.

“Generally speaking, what we heard last week was tax cuts, particularly for the wealthy, and reduced regulation ... that that somehow is going to bring prosperity to everybody. And it’s really the same philosophy that we tried for a decade before I took office. It didn’t work. It didn’t create jobs. It didn’t increase income or wages. And it resulted in the end in the worst financial crisis that we’ve had in our lifetime.”

Obama outlined his second-term plans for reducing the national deficit. “When I walked into office we had a trillion-dollar deficit. We are steadily cutting that deficit down,” he said. “Not as fast as I would have liked, because the (economic) crisis was big, and it meant that we had fewer tax revenues coming in, more help going out in things like unemployment insurance. But I’ve already signed into law $2 trillion worth of cuts. I’ve put forward a plan of $4 trillion in deficit reduction ... And that kind of balanced plan prevents us from having to cut education spending. It prevents us from having to voucherize Medicare as Governor Romney and (running mate) Congressman (Paul) Ryan have proposed.”

The Democratic National Convention begins this week in Charlotte, N.C. Obama will formally accept his party’s nomination Thursday evening — and the next day, he’ll be back in Iowa along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. The details of that campaign event have not yet been released.

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