During a speech late this afternoon in Dubuque, Barack Obama touted steps he’s taken in the past four years as president — and he promised to be the “champion” of every day Americans in a second term.

“Your voices have been shut out too long by the lobbyists and the special interests..What they’re counting on now is that you’ll be so worn down by all the squabbling in Washington, so tired of all the dysfunction that you’re just going to give up, walk away and leave them in power,” Obama said, and the crowd yelled, “No.” Obama continued: “They’re betting on cynicism, but Iowa, my bet’s on you.”

Obama scoffed at rival Mitt Romney’s recent promise to deliver “real” change.

“I know what change looks like because I fought for it and I delivered it and I’ve got the scars to prove it,” Obama said. “And you guys have stood with me and after all we’ve been through together we can’t give up on it now.”

Obama opened his speech with a pitch for donations to Hurricane Sandy victims on the east coast, but the president spent the majority of his time on stage in Dubuque offering his closing argument to voters.

“We have made real progress, Iowa, these past four years,” Obama said. “But we’re here this evening because we know we’ve got more work to do.”

AUDIO of Obama’s 24-minute speech in Dubuque.

Dubuque police said about 5000 people gathered outdoors in a park this afternoon for the event. About an hour before Obama arrived, rocker John Mellencamp performed for the crowd. Early this afternoon Romney rallied with a crowd gathered in an airplane hangar at the Dubuque airport.

At 7 p.m. this evening The Des Moines Register released its “Iowa Poll” which found 47 percent of respondents support Obama’s reelection, compared to 42 percent who said they back Romney.  Read more about the poll on www.DesMoinesRegister.com (subscription required).