Iowa has a special place in President Obama’s re-election campaign organization as the state that launched him four years ago.
But the campaign is not resting on warm memories of the last campaign.
In a conference call with Iowa reporters Oct. 31, Obama campaign officials said they are working every day and will use the Jan. 3 first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses to pull together the grass roots organization that propelled Obama to the Democratic nomination and presidency in 2008.
Campaign Manager Jim Messina also ripped the 2012 Republican field for embracing failed economic policies of the past.
Faced with 9 percent unemployment and banking and housing crises, the president is “fighting every day to create jobs now and restore economic security for the middle class,” Messina said.
“Mitt Romney and Rick Perry and the field have laid out a very, very different vision, he said. “They believe we can cut our way to prosperity.”
Messina and Ben LaBolt, campaign press secretary, focused most of their attack on Romney, saying he has no “core principles” other than getting elected.
Messina also tried to reinforce the “flip-flopper” attacks on Romney, saying it is “becoming increasingly clear he will say and stand for anything just to get elected.”
“During the last campaign he said he hoped the (Massachusetts) health care reform plan would serve as a model for states across the nation,” Messina said. “This campaign, he is trying to run away again and again.”
Romney also has pledged to repeal most of the components of the Obama health care reform including patient protection from insurance companies discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay of their parents’ health care coverage longer and helping seniors afford prescription drugs.
“Mitt Romney is pro-choice and pro-life. He for gay rights and against them,” he said. “He has to decide who he is and what he stands for.”
The attack on Romney came as no surprise to his campaign.
“President Obama and his allies already signaled they are going to run a campaign of personal destruction to ‘kill’ Mitt Romney because they are intimidated by his candidacy,” said Romney for President spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “President Obama knows he can’t run on the failed policies that have brought higher taxes, exploding deficits, and record unemployment, so his allies have no choice but to launch false and personal attacks.”
Messina said that while the GOP candidates have been “barnstorming the state quietly and without much fanfare,” Obama for America has been busy building it organization on the ground.
Since re-launching in April, the campaign has had more than 700 trainings, planning session, house parties and phone banks making more than 100,000 calls and having 2,000 one-on-one meetings. It has opened campaign offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and six other cities.
Iowa Republicans say voter activity in Iowa suggests the president doesn’t enjoy the support he did four years ago.
“Since President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, over 10 percent of Iowans have left the president’s own political party. That means over 65,000 Iowans have said ‘No thanks, I’m no longer a Democrat’ since Obama took office,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn.