"How many people here have already voted?"
In Sioux City, 14 people raised their hands. In Council Bluffs, 10 hands.
Election Day is still 38 days away, but in Iowa, early voting began on Thursday. Across the state, Iowans—who pride themselves on being first in the nation when it comes to elections—have been mailing in absentee ballots and voting in person for the past two days.
But, as Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak noted, Iowans also pride themselves on making an informed decision about who they're going to send to the White House.
"You're not easy to convince," said Rybak. "What people in Iowa do is they look you in the eye, they size the person up, and they make a judgment about who the person is. Four years ago, you asked, is this going to be a president who's going to stand up for the middle class? Get us out of Iraq? Manufacture things like cars and wind? Back then, we hoped President Obama would be a great leader. Today, we know it."
So in a battleground state like Iowa, it's up to volunteers like those in Sioux City and Council Bluffs to make sure their friends and neighbors know exactly what President Obama's accomplished—and why he needs four more years to finish what we've begun.
"Four years ago, we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month, the auto industry was about to collapse, and we had huge challenges with health care. Then, the president walked in to the Oval Office. Today, we have 30 straight months of private-sector job growth. College students can stay on their parents' health insurance plans. Bin Laden is gone.
"There's more to do, but are we going to go backward? No. Where are we going to go? Forward. And Iowa, do exactly what you did before. You, Iowa, sent him on his way. And over the next 38 days, we've got to work as hard for this president as he's been working for you."