Praising President Barack Obama’s record in improving the lives of Iowans, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he feels good about the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election.
Harkin spoke Sunday at the Obama for America Davenport office along with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Randy Johnson, who discussed how he lost his job at a company owned by Mitt Romney, Bain Capital. Johnson said he was one of hundreds of employees fired from American Pad & Paper LLC, also known as Ampad, after the company was taken over by Bain Capital in 1994. Ampad manufactures office products such as writing pads and filing resources.
“Bain Capital fired everyone, and put us to the street,” said Johnson, who was among some employees who later were hired back at a lower wage.
Romney is campaigning on his record of creating tens of thousands of jobs, Johnson said.
“Why didn’t he get involved?” Johnson asked. “This is a guy who says he can fix things. ... He wants to bring that business record to the White House. They left Ampad $400 million in debt — and walked away,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who has spoken out against Romney for many years, also said he thinks Obama will be re-elected.
Harkin echoed that sentiment, saying Obama has helped almost 1 million Iowans receive free preventative health care services so they can stay healthy. He also worked with the EPA to use “half again as much ethanol as we did before,” Harkin said. “That’s money in our pocket.”
But Shawn McCoy, Iowa communications director for Romney for President, disagrees.
“After four years of failure, it is clear that the president and his campaign have nothing to offer but false and misleading attacks,” McCoy said. “Mitt Romney has a record of job creation and real-world experience that President Obama can’t match. And his plan for a stronger middle class will accomplish what President Obama has failed to do — grow the economy and create good jobs.”
Harkin said that more than 20,000 “young Iowans are on their parents’ (health insurance) policies until age 26.
“I believe Iowans are going to say ‘yes’ to four more years of Barack Obama,” said Harkin, who pointed out, “We have 67 offices in Iowa — Romney only had 19.”
On the contrary, “Mitt Romney is going to win Iowa on Tuesday, and the state that launched Barack Obama’s historic run for the White House will politely ask to have its vote back,” said David Kochel, chief Romney strategist for Iowa.. “With a clean sweep of major newspaper endorsements, Iowans woke up this past week to an unexpected unanimity among editorial boards.
“And while two of the four newspapers switched from Barack Obama, they’re not alone,” Kochel said. “Thousands upon thousands of voters have switched their votes as well.”
Harkin introduced Durbin as “one of the stalwarts in making sure the Rock Island Arsenal continues to operate.”
Durbin said Obama “considers this (Iowa) his second home.”
Under previous presidents, the Rock Island Arsenal had been scheduled for closure, Durbin said. Obama made a commitment to supporting the arsenal.
“Barack Obama broke the logjam for the Thomson prison, which will create 1,100 good jobs on both sides of the river,” Durbin said. “He’s worked with us at a time to create jobs when we’ve needed them the most.”
Harkin, Durbin and Johnson also were scheduled to appear Sunday in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.