In a campaign stop at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater outside the Star Brewery complex in the Port of Dubuque, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama urged a crowd of nearly 3,000 people Wednesday to vote in November and encourage others to do the same.
The stop was the latest in a three-day tour of Iowa for the President that included events in Council Bluffs, Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Waterloo. Mr. Obama spoke in Davenport Wednesday evening.
Other speakers preceding the President and First Lady in Dubuque included Mayor Roy Buol, Congressman Bruce Braley and Dubuque resident Jennifer Connolly, widow of the late Sgt. Andrew Connolly.
Michelle Obama warmed up the crowd right before her husband. She spoke about her family's trip to the Iowa State Fair and her husband's humble beginnings.
"What I remind people is that your president knows what it means when a family struggles," she said. "This is not a hypothetical situation for him. He knows what it means to want something better for your kids and your grandkids."
Before the Dubuque event, however, the president made an unannounced stop at Cascade High School. For about 45 minutes, Mr. Obama met with the group of teachers gathered there before continuing to Dubuque.
Before the president and first lady's arrival in Dubuque, a group of about 30 supporters of Gov. Romney and his running mate Rep. Ryan displayed signs in the Port of Dubuque.
Former Iowa GOP chair Matt Strawn was at the event and said he believes the president's, first lady's and, earlier this summer, vice president's visits to Iowa indicate the Obama administration fears it's losing the state to Republicans.
Strawn also hit the president on Medicare.
"We're making sure that Iowans understand there's a clear distinction between the president's plan that cuts 700 billion dollars from Medicare and the Romney-Ryan administration -- hopefully the Romney-Ryan administration -- that will preserve, strengthen Medicare for future generations," Strawn said.
In his speech, the president pushed back.
They're being pretty dishonest about my plan, especially, by the way, when it comes to Medicare," he told the crowd. "I have made reforms that have saved millions of senior with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs."
President Obama said he has proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of what he calls wasteful spending in the health care system, "reforms that will not touch your Medicare benefits, not by a dime," he said.
"Mr. Romney and his running mate have a very different plan. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That means seniors would no longer have the guarantee of Medicare. They'd get a voucher to buy private insurance," Mr. Obama said.
The president also talked about his desire to maintain middle class taxes.
"If your family makes under $250,000, like 98 percent of American families do and 97 percent of small businesses do, you won't see your income taxes increase by a single dime next year," he said.
Addressing health care reform, he said, "if Mr. Romney and Congressman Ryan want to spend the next two and a half years having the same argument we had about health care all over again they can feel free to try to do it. But the Supreme Court has spoken. It is the law of the land. We are moving forward to give every American the health security that they deserve. That is the difference in this election."
The president, along with speakers and volunteers at the speech, encouraged Democrats in the crowd to get involved with the voting process. Republican, however, are fighting, too, according to Tom Szold with the Republican National Convention.
"We're out here making sure we totally outdo the Obama campaign, you know, volunteer by volunteer, doorknob by doorknob, phone call by phone call. We're gonna outdo him. We're going to have the biggest ground game in Iowa history. It's gonna be unprecedented," Szold said. "Everybody is investing for a reason. Iowa is a swing state. Possibly the swing state."
President Obama traveled from the Dubuque event to Davenport only after greeting enthusiastic members of the crowd, following his speech.
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