President Obama began his campaign’s “Road To Charlotte” in Iowa on Saturday, kicking off a tour of of the crucial swing states of Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia before arriving at the last day of the Democratic National Convention, where Obama is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination for a second term on Thursday.
Against the backdrop of a rustic barn in the middle of a cornfield, Obama spoke to a crowd in Urbandale, Iowa, where he addressed his opposition. “It was last week the other party gave us their pitch,” Obama said, referring to the Republican National Convention as the crowd let out a loud boo. “Don’t boo,” he countered. “Vote!”
The president recalled the GOP convention as a look backward. “It was a re-run — we’d seen it before,” he said. “You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV.”
He then kicked off into a version of his stump speech, answering Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s charges that he’s been a poor steward of the U.S. economy — specifically citing the American auto industry. He said Romney’s advice was to “let the auto industry go bankrupt” (the headline of a Romney op-ed in New York Times) while “an iconic American industry was on the line” and one million American jobs were at stake.
“I bet on American workers and American manufacturing,” Obama said.
He also highlighted a local issue in Iowa — the wind energy tax credit, aimed at helping the emerging industry. “My opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers. He’s said new sources of energy like these are ‘imaginary,” the president said. “Nearly 7,000 jobs in this state depend on the wind industry. These jobs aren’t a fad—they’re the future.”
Romney also campaigned in the Midwest on Saturday, making a stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he highlighted that state’s growing economy and credited Republican Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) rather that Obama. “He’s showing the president — if he’d only listen — how to create jobs.”
The former Massachusetts governor also repeated his nomination speech dig at Obama for misplaced priorities, saying the president had promised to “slow the rise of the oceans” and to “heal the planet.” Romney shot back, “We’re going to help the American people and help the families of America.”
Obama won Iowa by 9.5 points in 2008, but the race is much closer in 2012, as the PollTracker Average of the Iowa contest shows a small Obama lead of 0.7 percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.