Both the Republican and Democratic national conventions are over. And both presidential candidates were in Iowa yesterday. Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were using new jobs numbers to sway voters.
More than 8,000 people crowded outside Jessup Hall at the University of Iowa. A late afternoon rain soaked the crowd… many dressed in Hawkeye yellow and black as well as ponchos. But the sky cleared up for Vice President Joe Biden to introduce the president.
"He has the courage to make the tough calls on education, healthcare, Medicare, ending the war in Iraq and bring an end to the war in Afghanistan," Biden said.
The president launched into what sounded like a slightly revised version of his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. But he did mention a new jobs report that shows a tepid growth of 96,000 jobs.
"Today we learned that after losing 800,000 jobs a month when I took office businesses added jobs for the 30th month in a row we’ve added more than 4.6 million jobs," President Obama said.
But Mitt Romney, who campaigned in Orange City earlier in the day came at it this way:
"Did you see the jobs report this morning, by the way?" Romney said. "95,000 I believe net new jobs created and almost 400,000 people dropped out of the workforce altogether. It’s almost unimaginable."
So who’s an independent voter supposed to believe? Tim Hagle – a political science professor at the University of Iowa – says how the candidates sell the economy to those voters is crucial.
"If the economy was great or at least in better shape then they would be paying more attention to some of these other issues,"Hagel said. "As opposed to I need a job."
Then there’s voter Jessica Mcgllyn, she attended the president’s campaign stop, and she’s still undecided how vote… what’s her number one priority?
"A big thing for me is going to be education – student loans, as a student," Mcgllyn said. "I guess I’m not sure what THE number one is."
It’s arguably those wild card voters like Mcgllyn that will keep the candidates coming back to Iowa these next two months.