UI Professor: Obama's Iowa Visit "A Little Odd"
Q&A with Tim Hagle from the University of Iowa's political science department.
President Barack Obama is expected to visit Iowa next week. Here's an excerpt from an interview UI Professor Tim Hagle about the president's upcoming visit. Hagle teaches and does political science research at the university and worked for two years in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Iowa City Patch: President Obama just visited Iowa last month. Why is he returning so soon?
Tim Hagle: That's a good question. When he came a couple weeks ago, folks were asking 'Why Iowa?' and the standard answer is that we're going to be a swing state and it's clear that Iowa, despite our small number of electoral college votes, is still going to be important to Obama's strategy ... Iowa has to be one of those states he keeps in his column ... If we were in September or October and still a swing state, it would make more sense, but it just seems a little odd for him to be coming back so soon.
Patch: Obama has had success in Iowa, but Republicans have made gains here since 2008. How will that affect the 2012 race?
Hagle: I don't know that I would characterize Iowa as an Obama state ... Yes, Iowa went to Obama in 2008, but the pendulum swung back here in 2010 when we elected Gov. Branstad and the Republicans have made tremendous gains in the Iowa House. Voter registration seems to be trending on behalf of Republicans and we had record caucus turnout so it's going to be a tough sell.
Patch: Will this election be focused on the economy? What other themes do you expect to emerge?
Hagle: It's going to be about the economy and it was in 2010 but that's not to say what might be called social issues aren't going to play a role. One reason for that is that for the Obama campaign, they don't want to run on the economy ... The unemployment rate is still high and gas prices are still high. They have a lot of problems so they want to distract from that and they think they're stronger on social issues than Republicans.