On Saturday, September 1st, KTVO had the opportunity to speak with President Barack Obama. Below is a transcript of the interview.
KTVO??s Greg Deffenbaugh"Mr. President, my first question for you is; we all watched the national convention and a lot of fact checking needs to go into their speeches. What is your opinion on that?"
President Barack Obama"Well, I have to tell you that I didn??t watch the convention last week but I read about it and heard their accounts. It is pretty consistent with what they have been saying throughout their campaign. They point out that the economy isn??t doing as well as it should but that isn??t news to anyone. They then say it is all Obama??s fault and try and get creative with their facts to try and make their case. But what they didn??t say is what their plans to make our country better, strengthen our middle class, how are they going to make communities all across Iowa a little easier for folks to get a job, send their kids to college, and succeed. What I am going to do this week is really focus on the agenda for the future. Making sure that we are bringing manufacturing back, making sure we are utilizing energy like wind where we have seen 7,000 jobs right here in Iowa and we continue to make progress on that, and make sure that we have the best education system in the world. Our college tuition is affordable for our young people. And I think what people are really looking for right now is concrete solutions, common sense plans, and we have all the tools we need to succeed not just next year or the year after but for decades to come. We are going to have to make some tough decisions that I am ready to make."
KTVO??s Greg Deffenbaugh"Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa??s Second Congressional District is in a tough re-election battle. He is one of the most bi-partisan congressmen that will reach across the isle. Do you want to see more of that, obviously, if you are re-elected?"
President Barack Obama"You know I would love to see more of that. My attitude is that no party has a monopoly on wisdom, but I also think that there are some core principles that we need to stay true to. Everything I do is focused on how we create a strong middle class. I do not believe that you strengthen the middle class by rewarding the very top. I think that people like myself and Governor Romney who have done well over the last decade, and giving tax cuts to us is not something that will help ordinary folks. What we want to see is making sure that taxes are low for people making less then $250,000. We want to see that young people can afford to go to college. We want to make sure we are investing in energy and we want to continue seeing successes rewarded and small businesses thrive. But we want to make sure that it succeeds for everyone and not just a few."
KTVO??s Greg Deffenbaugh"I want to ask you about Mr. Akin down in Missouri and his campaign against Claire McCaskill. What are your thoughts on what he said about women?"
President Barack Obama"I think the people of Missouri will be able to make a decision on that. I will tell you that I am a strong believer that women can make their own healthcare decisions. Frankly, the comments by Mr. Akin confirm why women shouldn??t leave it to politics in Washington, most of whom are male, to make these decisions. I think that this is an example of where you got a clear choice between the parties. This is a country that believes in entrepreneurship, risk taking, and making sure that everybody has a fair shot and can succeed. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities to succeed as anybody??s sons do. If you work hard in this country you should be able to make it. I think that is the philosophy of the Democratic Party and that Claire McCaskill believes in. I can tell you Claire is pretty independent and has disagreed with me on some stuff and I respect that. She is always thinking about the people of Missouri and what is most important for them. That is the kind of senator that I think you want and the kind that the Missouri people want to see."
KTVO??s Greg Deffenbaugh"A lot of southeast Iowa cities are having infrastructure funding problems. You want to get a jobs bill; you want to get a farm bill passed. Congressman Loebsack talked about getting all theses issues done with. What can we do in government to make sure that these small communities across rural America are taken care of?"
President Barack Obama"Ottumwa is a good example of a community that obviously has had tough times. Manufacturing left in a lot of these areas but there is still so much strength that we can build on. Infrastructure is a great way that we can improve the prospects that companies locate in rural America. That is why I have had a bill in front of congress for the last year now that says, that is all paid for, lets start investing in roads, bridges, sewer projects, water mains. Let??s put people back to work, especially in the construction industry that has been hit pretty hard with the housing bubble bursting. Not only is that good for jobs right not but it also lays the ground for economic growth in the long run. We have done a lot to make sure, for example, that rural communities have access to broadband lines because it is going to be hard for a company to locate somewhere if they feel like they can??t get good internet service. That is the example of the kind of things that we can do. Historically that has been bi-partisan. The farm bill historically has been bi-partisan. We had a bi-partisan bill come out of the senate that somehow didn??t get done. I have been traveling the state and seeing the devastation the drought has had on many communities around here. Members of congress owe their constituents the kind of basic service on something like that but they didn??t. In the past it hasn??t been a partisan issue so my hope is that they get it done this year. I am going to do everything I cannot just over the next two months but hopefully over the next four years to continue to provide the kind of service that helps middle class families have a better shot at life."