Praise of Bipartisanship Fades from Campaign Stumps in Iowa

Nov 2, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden campaigns at the Opera House in Fort Dodge on Thursday, November 1st, 2012. 4th District Democratic Congressional Candidate Christie Vilsack stood behind Biden the entire speech.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

It’s the last full week of presidential campaigning and here in Iowa, we expected to see the presidential candidates a bit more. But Hurricane Sandy changed things. For the most part we got wives and vice-presidential candidates. Paul Ryan will be in Waterloo today and Vice President Joe Biden made stops in Muscatine and Fort Dodge Thursday. 

There's a picture circulating out there of New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie shaking hands with President Obama as he arrives in the Garden State to survey Super Storm Sandy’s damage. For a while there it was all about the bipartisanship. Ann Romney was talking about working together despite differences at an event earlier this week in Des Moines, her husband Mitt Romney was to appear with her but canceled because of the storm.

"We have to do what Americans always do, put aside our differences at this moment and give gratitude for our country," she told a Des Moines crowd on Tuesday. 

Vice President Joe Biden was praising the political bipartisanship too at his stop in Fort Dodge Thursday evening.

“We’ve all got to be in this together," Biden said to a crowd of 475 at the Opera House in Fort Dodge. "We gotta stop this blue and red. We’re a purple nation, man. We really are, we really are.”

Then the Vice President slowly eased back into his ticket’s stump speech. He brought up differences on women’s rights, the economy. He also had Christie Vilsack at his side for his entire speech. She’s the democratic challenger here in this newly formed 4th district. Vice President Biden lumped her opponent Republican incumbent Steve King in with what he calls the new Republican Party.

“By the way, this is not your father’s republican party. This is a different deal," Biden said. "Your opponent, Mr. King represents this new Republican Party. Romney represents this new Republican Party. Ryan (does). They’re not bad or good, but they are different than your father’s Republican Party.”

And by the end of the speech any of that bipartisan love was nowhere to be found.

“I’ve got news for these guys – for the governor and the congressman – gentlemen!" shouted Biden. "It’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people – Never. We’re coming back. Iowa we need you! We win Iowa! We win this election.”

Voter Rose Richardson was at the campaign stop in Ft. Dodge. She’s already voted for President Obama. For her, it’s all about the social issues.

"I’m tired of people trying to tell women especially what to do with their bodies," Richardson said. "And I have a son who is gay and he would like to marry his partner and God created each and every one of us so why have people stick their noses in?"

As for most Iowa voters, they’ve already made up their minds on who they’re supporting, says University of Northern Iowa Political Science Professor Donna Hoffman. She says now it’s all about enthusiasm.

"While I know a lot of Iowans are thinking 'Oh, this election needs to be over', It is really important," Hoffman said. "Iowans have this reputation for taking elections seriously and I think it’s well deserved and it is winding down but those last days can still be critical."

Especially here in Iowa, which Hoffman and many polls say still could go either way. And both candidates will be back in the state two more times.