An Iowa native who’s become famous for his acting and who he’s dating recently shared details of his childhood with an Iowa audience. Twenty-six-year-old Ashton Kutcher campaigned on behalf of democratic presidential candidate John Kerry this past year, and during an October 30th campaign rally in Des Moines, Kutcher told the crowd about his background. Kutcher was raised in Cedar Rapids. His dad, a Vietnam vet, worked in a factory. His mom was a school teacher who took a factory job during the 1980s recession. Kutcher said he grew up lower middle-class. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot,” Kutcher said. “I know what it feels like to stand in line for (government) cheese and powdered milk…I also know what it’s like to appreciate that cheese when it’s the main course on your dinner plate at night. I know what it feels like to stand in the lunch line and get made fun of because your government hot lunch ticket is a different color than the regular ones.” Kutcher was a biochemical engineering student at the University of Iowa and being paid 12-dollars-an-hour to sweep the Cheerios dust off the floor at the General Mills plant in Cedar Rapids when he got his big break into modeling. Kutcher said because of his family background, he learned the value of hard work. Kutcher worked at General Mills in Cedar Rapids, he worked at a Hy-Vee and he did farm work — baling hay and detassling corn for $4.65 an hour. “And I know about feeling rich while you’re doin’ it,” Kutcher said of detassling. “Plunking the ‘Ten cents. Ten cents. Let me keep going.'” Kutcher says as a kid his family went on vacation to Adventureland because they got a tax refund. Kutcher says now that he’s successful, he’s more than willing to pay more in taxes to ensure middle-class and poor taxpayers get a tax cut. He says that’s why he supported democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, because Kerry promised a middle class tax cut. Kutcher had voted for George W. Bush in 2000.”I got punk’d,” Kutcher said, a reference to his M-TV show. Kutcher said he thought Bush was like him — a guy who grew up working hard. “I thought he was a good old boy,” Kutcher said. “Since then I realize he’s not like me in a lot of ways, in one fundamental way: I know how to admit when I was wrong.” Kutcher joked that he’s not an idiot, he just plays one on t-v — on “That 70’s Show.” Kutcher has a fraternal twin brother, Michael, who was born with a heart defect. He also has an older sister, Tausha, who is a school teacher in Cedar Rapids, and he talked about her during his Des Moines speech. His sister lost her job this year, and couldn’t afford health insurance for herself or for Kutcher’s five-year-old niece, Dakota. Kutcher also talked about his uncle who was called to active duty in Iraq, leaving his three children behind. After breaking into the modeling world in 1997, Kutcher landed the role of dimwitted Michael Kelso on “That 70s Show” in 1998. His major movie breakthrough came in the comedy “Dude, Where’s My Car.” Kutcher has also become a Hollywood producer. The M-T-V prank show “Punk’d” was his brainchild and he starred in and produced “The Butterfly Effect,” a movie that was released last year. He’s often pictured on tabloid t-v and newspapers with his girlfriend, 42-year-old Demi Moore.
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