Governor Chet Culver is en route to Iowa City to attend President Obama’s speech early this afternoon. Culver, a Democrat who is seeking a second term this year, says he “absolutely” wants Obama back to Iowa later this year to help him campaign for reelection.
“I think President Obama has just achieved an historic accomplishment, something that presidents for generations have tried to do, and that’s health care reform,” Culver says. “I think when Iowans, when Americans hear the real story about what this means to hard-working families in this state and this country, he’s going to become even more popular.”
Culver held a news conference in his statehouse office early this morning and he opened that event by citing an array of statistics. According to Culver, more than 700,000 Iowa kids with “preexisting conditions” will no longer be denied coverage for those maladies and about half a million Iowans who’re over the age of 65 will pay less for their prescription drugs.
“People are going to embrace this change that he’s been talking about for three years,” Culver told reporters. “And the statistics that I gave you this morning are very positive for Iowa.”
According to the governor and his staff, nearly 50,000 small business owners in Iowa will be eligible for tax credits if they extend health insurance benefits to their employees. “So I welcome the president to Iowa today,” Culver said. “And I welcome this new package of reforms that will help individuals, our children, seniors and businesses when it comes to reducing health care costs and getting the coverage that Iowans need.”
Obama won Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses and carried the state of Iowa in the General Election. But a Des Moines Register Iowa Poll conducted in late January and early February found 46 percent of those surveyed approved of Obama’s job performance. The state’s governor argues Obama will get a bounce in the polls once the public figures out the details of the health care reform package.
“It’s going to take a little time for all of us to better understand what this really means in terms of improving lives,” Culver said, “and as the president gets out there and he’s going to start today, formally, you know, I think he’s going to become more and more popular.”
The most-recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, conducted nearly two months ago, found only 40 percent of the Iowans surveyed gave Obama high marks for his handling of domestic issues, including health care and the economy.