BOONE President Barack Obama said it was good to be back in Boone County for a campaign stop yesterday afternoon at Herman Park. Crowds packed the park pavilion, chanting "four more years" in support of the President. He began his speech by stressing the importance of the coming election.
"It is not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but more than any election in recent memory, this is a choice between two fundamentally different visions about how we move this country forward," Obama said.
He said his vision for America has a strong middle class with tax breaks for those earning less than $250,000, which consists of about 98 percent of Americans. Obama said tax increases on the remaining two percent of income earners, combined with two trillion dollars worth of spending cuts will help reign in the deficit. Obama said he reduced federal spending to the lowest percentage of GDP since Dwight Eisenhower.
President Obama addresses the crowd at the Herman Park pavilion in Boone on Monday. He stressed the importance of a strong middle class and reducing the deficit through tax increases on the wealthy and spending cuts.
Obama waves goodbye to the crowd of audience members and supporters. His speech began shortly after 5 p.m. and lasted about half an hour. The Daily Freeman-Journal and two other journalists interviewed the President shortly after his speech.
In a post-speech interview with the Daily Freeman-Journal and two other Iowa newspapers, Obama said the middle class will benefit from bringing manufacturing jobs back to U.S. soil by "insourcing," making the tax code fair, having secure healthcare for all and having affordable, quality education.
"Those are all elements of a strong, vibrant middle class, and I believe that when the middle class is doing well, the whole country does well," Obama said.
While the overall economy has taken a hit in recent years, Obama said the farm economy has grown with the highest farm incomes in decades reported last year. Trade bills passed under the current administration with Panama, Colombia and South Korea have expanded American agriculture exports to historic levels according to Obama.
However, the drought this summer has negatively impacted that economy. He called Congress' failure to pass the farm bill "inexcusable" considering the Senate bill passed with strong, bipartisan support.
To combat the drought, Obama said he has opened more land for livestock grazing, offered low interest loans to farmers and ranchers in declared disaster areas and recently announced a $150 million federal government buy of meat from livestock producers that will be frozen and used in schools, hospitals and other government facilities.
Another local economy of wind and biofuel energies is supported by the President. He said 83,000 jobs are supported by the biofuel industry and that homegrown energy helps reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.
Gas and oil have been produced at record levels, according to Obama, and the U.S. dependence on foreign nations to get those resources has been reduced by half during his time in office. He attributes that drop to ethanol and wind energy, the latter of which supports 7,000 jobs in Iowa.
"This is a big difference between myself and Gov. Romney. He has said unequivocally he wants to end the wind energy tax credit," Obama said. "I've seen what's been done here in Iowa to create this strong wind industry that is giving consumers electricity that is also creating jobs. The notion that we would go backwards on that makes no sense to me at all."
He said building effective transmission lines to markets like Chicago, in addition to further investment in infrastructure, will grow the wind economy and the overall economy. The finite nature of oil based energy has led the President to support wind and biofuel power in addition to solar energy. Clean sources of energy have doubled in Obama's presidency, and he said that those technologies are becoming cheaper every year as the technology improves and America must be at the forefront of that technology.
"We're competing with China, Germany, Spain, countries all around the world who understand how important this is. If we can make sure our technology is better, and we are using all these resources that we've got that God gave us in a smart way, it's going to help our economy across the board," Obama said.
With the election less than three months away, Obama said he hopes his legacy is seen as one that helped save the country from another depression. However, he said his most important legacy is building an economy that works where Americans can compete and work hard.
"There aren't going to be any handouts, there aren't going to be any giveaways, everybody's got to work hard, but if they do, they should be able to afford a home, retire with some dignity, not go broke when they get sick and make sure their kids are getting a good education," Obama said.
The President will be continuing to spread his message on the road in Iowa with stops in Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Waterloo today and in Dubuque and Davenport on Wednesday.