President Obama in Waterloo: Thanks Iowa for Help in 2008, Asks for More (Updated and Photos Added)
The President spoke in Waterloo Tuesday during his three-day tour of Iowa.
President Barack Obama waxed nostalgic Tuesday even as he looked forward to the November election, thanking Iowans for propelling his 2008 candidacy and landing him in the White House and asking voters to let him finish the job he began four years ago.
"Some of you may remember one of the first stops after I announced I was running for president was right here in Waterloo," he told about 1,800 people at the Riverloop Amphitheater, with the setting sun reflecting off the Cedar River as his background.
"It was on your front porches, in your backyards, that the movement for change began," he said.
That message resonated with many in the crowd.
"It means we're important," said Jamie Obehrheu, 25, of Waterloo, after the speech, when asked what it meant to her that the president visited her town.
Timina Micou, 30, of Waterloo, agreed.
"It was such an amazing event," she said. "To know somebody of his stature is here - that is amazing. We typically don't get put on the map."
The crowd was enthusiastic, just as it was yesterday when Obama visited the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines as part of a three-day swing through Iowa.
With many in the crowd holding Obama "Forward" signs, the president was frequently interrupted by cheers and chants of, "Four more years!"
Three days is an unprecedented amount of campaign attention from a sitting president that underscores how important the state's electoral votes are in the close race with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
A recent Real Clear Politics poll showed Obama ahead of Romney in Iowa by a single point.
The president spoke in Council Bluffs and Boone Monday before making a surprise stop at the fair, where he shook hands and stopped for pork chops and a beer before getting back on his bus.
Earlier Tuesday, he was in Oskaloosa and Marshalltown. He also made an unscheduled stop at the Pump Haus Main Street bar in Cedar Falls before heading to Waterloo.
"Yesterday I was at the State Fair," he said at the amphitheater. "I ate a pork chop and had a beer. Today, I just had a beer."
A woman in the crowd yelled, "I'll fry you a pork chop!"
The president called Mitt Romney's choice of running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, an articulate spokesman, but said he simply did not agree with his policies.
"We’ve tried this trickle down fairy dust before," he said. "We don’t need more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We need to get tax relief to working families."
Then he took aim at Romney and his past comments about wind energy, a growing industry in Iowa.
"A few months ago, Governor Romney even explained his energy policy. He said you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it," Obama said. ”If he really wants to learn something about wind energy, he should come to Iowa. More than 7,000 jobs in Iowa depend on wind energy, more than any other state."
In fact, Romney was in Iowa last week, where he did speak about wind energy.
"Wind, solar, we've got to take advantage of them," Romney said at that Des Moines campaign stop. "...Manufacturing is going to want to come back here because of the low cost, abundant energy."
That was a contrast from earlier statements from the Romney campaign. Campaign spokesman Shawn McCoy told the Des Moines Register at the end of July that Romney would allow the wind production tax credit to expire. Several Iowa Republican politicians, including Gov. Terry Branstad, Rep. Tom Latham and Sen. Chuck Grassley, have spoken out in favor of extending the tax credit.
"America’s doubled the amount of energy we get from wind over the last four years," Obama said. "That is something we should leave behind for the next generation. That is worth fighting for."
He ended the 30 minute speech with a call for action from the cheering supporters in the crowd. He said being outspent by the Romney campaign did not mean he couldn't be re-elected.
"We’ve come too far to turn back now," he said. "We’ve been outspent before. We are tougher than any tough times. When we work together, that’s more powerful than any money. That’s more powerful than any T.V. commercials."
The president's speech was preceded by remarks from Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark, Congressman Bruce Braley and former state senator Pat Harper. Mike Dufel, of Cedar Falls, a Waterloo firefighter, introduced Obama.
The president is scheduled to appear in Dubuque and Davenport Wednesday, where he will be joined by First Lady Michelle Obama.