Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama told his Iowa supporters they need to “maintain the same determination, the same energy” they had during the 2008 campaign to ensure his re-election in what is likely to be a close 2012 race.
On the same night Republicans in Iowa were caucusing in the first contest to select their party’s presidential nominee, Obama spoke to Democrats in the state via a teleconference. He thanked them for their work in 2008 and reminded them he kept promises to end the war in Iraq, enact an overhaul of the health-care system, invest more in public education and end the ban on openly gay men and women from serving in the military.
“Think about the change that was accomplished because of those caucuses four years ago, because of those caucuses we ended the war in Iraq,” Obama said in a link from a hotel in Washington to 250 Democratic caucus sites across Iowa. “Because of you we’ve been able to end the policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’” in the military.
Obama’s win in the Democratic caucuses four years ago helped propel him to his party’s nomination. He also carried the state in the 2008 general election.
Answering a question from his audience, Obama said his campaign message will center on “this larger debate about what kind of country we’re leaving” behind for future generations, which will require investing in education and infrastructure.
“The other party has a fundamentally different philosophy,” he said.
With the campaign season fully underway, Obama tomorrow will be making his 17th trip since taking office to Ohio, a state that has picked the winner of every election since 1964. He’s scheduled to deliver a speech on the economy at a high school in a Cleveland suburb.
The Obama campaign is using Iowa, where they have eight campaign offices, and other early voting states to test their field organization and mobilize volunteers ahead of the general election. The campaign has three offices in New Hampshire and is planning on opening four more in time for the state’s Jan. 10 primary. They have two in South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 21.
The most recent surveys show that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania are contending to win today’s Iowa Republican caucus. Obama isn’t facing a challenge for the Democratic nomination.
--With assistance from John McCormick in West Des Moines, Iowa and Hans Nichols in Washington. Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Don Frederick
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