With recent polling showing the Democratic presidential candidate catching up to the frontrunner in the early-voting state, Obama is pressing the case that he has the policy proposals and broad appeal to attract voters interested in change.
“There’s no doubt that we represent the kind of change Senator Clinton can’t deliver on. And part of it’s generational,” Obama told FOX News.” Senator Clinton and others have been fighting some of the same fights since the ’60s. It makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done. And I think that’s what people hunger for.”
That approach appears to be paying off. A Zogby poll of 502 likely voters taken Tuesday showed Obama with 25 percent support, three points behind Clinton. The margin of error was 4.5 percent. By contrast, an American Research Group poll taken in Iowa between Oct. 26 and 29 of 600 likely voters put Clinton 10 points ahead of Obama, with 32 percent support. Clinton has lost footing in the polls ever since a debate last week in which she gave unclear answers on her position regarding a New York plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
While Obama’s campaign in Iowa kicked off with energetic support from younger voters, the Illinois senator said he now enjoys support from “all demographic groups.” “We have grassroots support. That’s the reason we’re statistically tied. We’ve got the best organization on the ground,” Obama said. “You can have all the establishment you want and all the Washington endorsements you want, but ultimately people are going to make a choice on who really cares about them and who has a track record for fighting for them.”
He added that voters are “tired of the tit for tat. They’re tired of divisive politics. What they want is somebody who can unify the country, push back against the special interests and stand up for what they really believe in.” On a three-day swing through southeastern Iowa, Obama has highlighted plans to give tax cuts to the middle class, reduce health care costs and strengthen retirement security, part of his so-called “American Dream” agenda.
According to his plan, Obama would offset payroll taxes for average Americans and remove taxes on Social Security for retirees now making less than $50,000 a year. He wants to provide tax cuts up to $1,000 for working families, expand the Family and Medical Leave Act, create a fund to prevent foreclosures, reform bankruptcy laws and enroll workers in portable retirement accounts.
In an indirect reference to Clinton, Obama told an audience Wednesday that his approach to lifting up the middle class isn’t based on politics as usual. “This is what we must do to reclaim the American dream. We know it won’t be easy. We’ll hear from the can’t-do, won’t-do, won’t-even-try crowd in Washington; the special interests and their lobbyists; the conventional thinking that says this country is just too divided to make progress. Well I’m not running for president to conform to this conventional thinking. I’m running to challenge it,” he said.