Obama in trouble in Iowa despite repeated visits, Branstad says

Branstad calls president 'campaigner-in-chief'; Democratic leaders say remarks have 'no merit'

Rod Boshart
Published: July 9 2012 | 9:15 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 9:29 pm in

The fact that President Obama is spending considerable time this year campaigning in Iowa – a state with six electoral votes – is a tell-tale sign he is “in trouble” in one of the key swing states in the 2012 election, Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad contended Monday.

“Iowa launched him, and I think Iowa’s going to sink him, because Iowans really feel betrayed,” the governor told his weekly news conference.

“These have been partisan, political trips that he’s been making (to Iowa), and I suspect he’ll continue to make because he knows that he’s in trouble in Iowa and this is a key battleground state," Branstad says.

However, Michael Hunt, a spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party, said Branstad’s comments have “absolutely no merit” since the GOP governor has placed his full support behind presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“Tomorrow in Cedar Rapids, President Obama will be talking about the choice in this election. We can move forward and grow the economy from the middle out with President Obama, or we can move backwards with the failed policies of the past with Mitt Romney,” Hunt said in a statement. By contrast, he said, Romney has indicated he would oppose Obama’s call to extend middle-class tax cuts “in favor of a $5 trillion plan we can't afford and benefits only the wealthiest Americans.”

Rather than leading the nation, Branstad said Obama has been acting more as a “campaigner-in-chief.” He said the economy continues to flounder because the business people who invest the money needed to create jobs are afraid their taxes will increase and are laboring under federal regulatory burdens.

“He ran as somebody who was going to unite the country and instead he spends all his time attacking, and the latest thing is now he wants to try to divide people one against another based on class warfare,” Branstad told reporters in advance of Obama’s visit on Tuesday to Cedar Rapids.

He’s a great campaigner, he’s a great speech maker, but he’s been a terrible leader and I think we need a change,” Branstad said.

Another Republican, State Auditor David Vaudt, appeared to send mixed signals about Iowa’s fiscal situation Monday, telling reporters that Iowa’s growth in state revenues indicates a strong economic recovery is under way in Iowa.

“I think overall Iowa has experienced very good growth in the economy,” he said. However, he said he has concerns about debt and other financial troubles at the national and international levels, and he noted that dry weather affects could hurt a farm sector that has been an economic growth engine for Iowa.

“That is all very fragile,” he said.

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