WHITE HOUSE — President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Obama's probable Republican opponent in November's presidential election, are campaigning on economic issues. The president campaigned Tuesday in the Midwestern state of Iowa, a likely battleground state in this year's election.
President Obama went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to reconnect with voters who gave him his first victory in the 2008 campaign - a win in the Iowa caucuses.
“This was a state that gave me a chance when nobody else would,” he said.
Public opinion surveys in this year’s race show the president and Mitt Romney virtually even. But with unemployment at 8.2 percent, the majority of voters polled say they are unhappy with Obama’s performance on the economy.
Cedar Rapids was the president’s first campaign stop after challenging Congress to extend middle-class tax cuts for another year.
“For us to give a trillion dollars’ worth of tax breaks to folks who do not need it - folks who do not need it and are not even asking for it - that does not make sense,” he said.
Obama wants to extend the tax cuts enacted during President George W. Bush's administration, but only for families earning up to $250,000 a year.
Romney and other Republicans want the cuts extended for all taxpayers. The former Massachusetts governor campaigned Tuesday in the Western city of Grand Junction, Colorado.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs will be able to keep more of their money to build their business, which is what I want to have done because, for me, it is all about jobs," he said. "It is creating good jobs for the American people, so I want to bring those tax rates down.”
The president’s version of the tax cuts is almost certain to be voted down in the Republican-led House of Representatives, which will vote later this month on extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts.
House Speaker John Boehner condemned the Obama plan Tuesday in a speech to a convention of building contractors here in Washington. He called it "class warfare."
“The president cannot run on his record because his policies, his economic policies, have failed," he said. "They have made things worse. And as a result, he has turned to the politics of envy and division. That is what this is about, nothing but pure politics.”
President Obama is portraying himself to voters as an advocate for middle-class Americans. Mitt Romney has been highlighting his experience running a business and creating jobs.