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Party leaders differ on significance of Obama’s visit to Iowa

Republicans at the state and national levels are skeptical of why President Barack Obama chose to visit an Iowa metal manufacturing plant today. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “the only job the President is interested in saving is his own.”

Obama is scheduled to tour Alcoa, a metal plant in the eastern Quad Cities, where he is also expected to talk about job creation and the economy. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said yesterday he planned to meet with the President to ask about his “concerns” about Obama’s management of the national economy.

Alcoa in Davenport employs about 2,000 people.

Priebus expressed aspersion toward Obama’s economic policies, calling them “failed” and further admonished Obama for joking about stimulus policies that fell short.

“Americans aren’t laughing,” Priebus said this morning by phone. “This is not a bump in the road, as (Obama) says. This is a three year-long trend of failed policies.”

Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky, however, countered that under Obama’s tenure, job creation has been steady for more than a year and the economy started to recover.

“President Obama’s strong leadership during tough times stopped our economic slide and put us on the path towards job creation and economic growth,” Dvorsky said through a party spokesman. “When he took office, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. Today, he is presiding over the 15th consecutive month of job creation, thanks to his decisive leadership.”

Iowans aren’t impressed, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn said.

“Iowans have dramatically soured to Barack Obama,” he said this morning. “One in 10 Iowa Democrats have left the Democratic Party during Barack Obama’s tenure.”

Strawn added he is “confident voters will see (Obama’s) failed leadership” next November in the voter’s box.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted in a USDA column in advance of Tuesday’s visit that the Obama administration has focused on critical rural infrastructure like roads, bridges, wastewater systems and broadband Internet access in an effort to the turn the waning manufacturing tide.

“And the Obama administration’s efforts are paying off,” he said. “Nationwide, since the beginning of 2010, manufacturing has added almost a quarter of a million jobs — the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade. And in rural communities, we have seen a more than 5 percent increase in manufacturing jobs in the past year.”

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