Photo by Kristen Smith
Story by Megan Bannister, Lauren Horsch and Kristen Smith
President Obama delivered a rousing, partisan speech at the Living History Farms in Urbandale this afternoon. He addressed the crowd of nearly, 10,000 person crowd for about 20 minutes, focusing on higher education, job creation and healthcare.
The crowd was primarily made up of Iowans and college students.
“It was you Iowa, who kept us going, when the pundits were writing us off,” Obama said about the 2008 presidential election.
“It will be in Iowa where we choose the path we take from here,” said Obama.
The kickoff of Obama’s “Road to Charlotte” tour came two days after the end of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and three days before the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
Obama noted the attacks the nominees and speakers made against him and his campaign at the GOP convention. Obama said the Republican complaint was that “everything’s bad and it’s Obama’s fault.”
As he has for the past week, he emphasized education, and played to the college students in the crowd.
The president spent the past week visiting colleges and universities across the country to discuss his policies on higher education reform. Obama visited Iowa State University in Ames on Wednesday, and is set to speak later today at Morningside College in Sioux City.
“In America higher education can’t be a luxury,” Obama said, to cheers from the crowd. “It’s an economic necessity, and should be something everyone should be able to afford, that’s what we’re fighting for.”
The American Opportunity Tax Credit, an initiative created under the Obama administration, that saves families as much as $10,000 over four years of schooling.
He also focused on job creation by defending his energy policies.
“At a time, when home-grown energy is creating new jobs, right here in Iowa, when farmers are helping to create new bio-fuels, when once shuttered factories are turning out new wind turbines, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers,” the president said.
Obama said Romney had called the new sources of energy “imaginary” and Romney’s running mate called them a “fad.”
“You know that 7,000 jobs in this state depend on the wind industry,” he added. “Those jobs aren’t a ‘fad,’ they are the future.”
Obama contrasted his health care plans with his Republican opponent’s.
“It’s up to you whether we go back to a health care system that lets insurance companies decide who to cover and when,” he said, “or whether we keep moving forward with the new health care law that is already cutting costs, covering more people, and saving lives.”
Additional reporting done by: Bailey Berg, James Glade and Alec Hamilton
Initial story by: Megan Bannister and Kristen Smith.
On an overcast day in suburban Des Moines, thousands of people gathered on the hills and in the fields of Living History Farms to hear President Barack Obama speak.
The president is expected to take the stage shortly after 1 p.m., following a number of other speakers.
Obama’s visit will kick off his “Road to Charlotte” tour, leading up to the start of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday.
Obama has traveled to Iowa 13 times during his presidency, according to a campaign press release. In 2012 alone, the president has visited Iowa seven times, including today’s event at Living History Farms.
According to a candidate approval poll done by Public Policy Polling on Aug. 28, Obama led Republican nominee Mitt Romney by two points in the state of Iowa.
During today’s event, Obama will highlight “American Heroes,” individuals who have shown why America’s economy “needs to be built from the middle out, not the top down,” said a campaign press release.
Drake University graduate and National Guard veteran Lucas Beenken will be one of the speakers taking the stage this afternoon. Beenken used his GI Bill to attend Drake as an undergrad and to receive his master’s degree.