Romney talks jobs in Davenport

BY ERIC LIGHTNER | JUNE 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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DAVENPORT — Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for a poor economy and stagnant job growth in Davenport on Monday, and experts say those issues will be at the forefront of the general election.

"The path he's taken us on is the path toward Europe; it's the path toward bigger and bigger government," Romney said. "It's the wrong direction for America, but that's the one that we're on, and I know where that leads. It leads to Europe, it leads to high unemployment, it leads to low wage growth, it leads to fiscal calamity."

Romney's stop in Davenport was part of his Every Town Counts bus tour, highlighting the problems facing the U.S. economy and what he sees as Obama's failures as president.

"Across the country, people are not feeling like things are just fine," Romney said, criticizing Obama's recent remarks to the press that the "private sector is doing just fine."

National statistics have shown that the U.S. unemployment rate has gone up to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in May.

University of Iowa political-science Associate Professor Tim Hagle said the economy is certainly an issue Iowans should pay attention to in the upcoming election.

"Iowa is doing better in terms of those [unemployment numbers], but we're still in worse shape than what we're used to," eh said.

Some Iowa Democrats responded unfavorably to Romney's remarks, insisting the economy in Iowa is doing relatively well.

"I think we're doing pretty well with jobs in Iowa," said Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville.

The Iowa Workforce and Development study backed up Dvorsky's claim, showing the number of unemployed in Iowa has decreased since May 2011.

Dvorsky said that while Romney may have some success overall in Iowa, the state will ultimately go to Obama.

Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker was unavailable for comment Monday evening.

One official with the Iowa Democratic Party said Romney's policy on creating jobs is a repeat of the former President George W. Bush's policies.

"His economic policies are extremely flawed and benefit the very few," said Michael Hunt, the communication director for the Iowa Democratic Party.

UI political-science Associate Professor Cary Covington believes the economy will be part of the larger debate but said the deficit is an equally important issue to voters nationwide and to Iowa voters in particular.

"Iowans have some concern about that [the debt] because unemployment is less of an issue here," he said.

The U.S. national debt stands at roughly $15.7 trillion.

Romney was quick to criticize Obama for the growing U.S. debt.

"This president has amassed as much public debt almost as all prior president combined," he said.

John Archer — the GOP candidate for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District who was present at Monday's event, also criticized Obama's presidency.

"In the past three and a half years, our president has had a lot of fundraisers …" he said. "… But he hasn't met with middle-class Americans. This guy just doesn't get it. So we need to replace him …"

Hagle said Iowa will ultimately be an important battleground in the upcoming election because of its number of independent voters.

"Even though there's only six Electoral College votes, those six could be very important," Hagle said, noting how Obama will have to work hard in the upcoming election to make sure he keeps the states he won in 2008. "As we've seen in poll after poll, Iowa is basically tied."

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