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Iowa Makes Fertile Battleground for Obama, Romney

And that's not an outrageous notion when one notes that Iowa delivered tight 2000 and 2004 presidential races.

Al Gore defeated George W. Bush by 0.31% there in 2000, while Bush bounced back to beat John Kerry by 0.67% in 2004.

"I know it's going to be tough for President Obama ... but I believe the more that Iowans hear about the president's policies and how they have helped our state, the more they will come around," Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) says.

Harkin says that the president's policies have helped boost domestic energy sector in biofuels and ethanol, and with promoting agricultural exports.

"Taken together, there is every reason for Iowans to vote for Barack Obama," Harkin says.

Rep. King, who formally endorsed Romney in May and who has his own congressional seat to defend in November, thinks the former Massachusetts governor needs to clarify some of his energy and agricultural positions to Iowa voters.

"I'd like to ask Mitt Romney [to] come to Iowa and take a stand and just inform the public as to what your policy and position will be, and I think that I'm comfortable with him -- I've not heard anything that causes me pause -- I just think that there's an undercurrent of doubt out there and that that affects peoples' thinking in the ag[riculture] community," King says.

Part of what King may be speaking to is Romney's tepid energy platform. Iowa's energy sector has obviously benefited from ethanol business, but it also stands as the nation's top job market in wind power .

During this election cycle, Romney has criticized Obama's " imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy."

But before the 2008 primary cycle he seemed open to the idea: " Energy independence will require technology that allows us to use energy more efficiently ... more ethanol, more biodiesel, more solar and wind power, and a fuller exploitation of coal."

Obama isn't without his own hurdles.

One Iowa Republican says that the president has taken for granted many of the people who voted for him in 2008.

"Obama has let them down," says Kevin McLaughlin, Polk County GOP chairman. "[They're] tired of being taken for granted by the Democrats ... and tired of Democrats showing up before the elections and expecting them all to vote for the Democrat candidate."
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