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Romney to make first general election campaign visit to Cedar Rapids

James Q. Lynch, CR Gazette –

Republican president nominee Mitt Romney will visit Cedar Rapids Wednesday evening, hours after President Obama has a rally in Davenport.

The visits by the presidential candidates signal the intensity in the race in the final two weeks of the campaign.

“It’s incredibly tight” in Iowa, Romney spokesman Shawn McCoy said Monday. “We’ve got a lot of momentum in this race, momentum we’ve gained as Iowans have heard more about Gov. Romney’s message.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley thinks the race is too close to call in Iowa. That’s a change from September when he thought Obama was likely to win re-election.

“What’s happened,” he said in Cedar Rapids Monday, “is that in the first debate people for the first time saw Romney for something other than six months of negative advertising said he was.”

Romney’s appearance Wednesday will be at Landmark Aviation, 9430 Shepard Ct. SW. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Romney rally can be picked up at the Cedar Rapids Victory Office, 155 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Wednesday.

Tickets also are available from

The fact that it will be Romney’s first visit to Cedar Rapids since prior to the GOP precinct caucuses earlier this year has not gone unnoticed by the Obama campaign.

“Iowans expect candidates to come in and talk directly and honestly with them about the issues that matter to them,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Erin Seidler said.

We’ve spent time here, talking directly to Iowans,” Seidler said. “Gov. Romney and his campaign, they’re not having the same kind of conversations. Our volunteers across the state, on the phone and at the door, are having real conversations with Iowans.”

She believes the time the president has spent in Iowa – 16 visits, according to Google Politics & Elections, gives him an edge in the state.

“He’s laid out a clear and direct contrast to Gov. Romney’s agenda that would take us back to the failed policy of the past,” she said.

Romney has made 18 campaign trips to Iowa, according to Google, including appearances in Dubuque and Davenport. His running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, campaigned at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids Sept. 4. Ryan campaigned in Council Bluffs over the weekend.

Both candidates will be talking jobs Wednesday.

Romney will be talking about jobs and job creation as well as “President Obama’s failure put forth any plans for the next four years,” McCoy said.

The president, who will be kicking off a 48-hour, six-state tour, will be talking about creating more manufacturing jobs, hiring more teachers, continuing to invest in renewable energy that has been so important to Iowa’s economy, Seidler said.

Obama will have an outdoors campaign rally at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport. Gates open at 8 a.m.

Obama was in Iowa just last Wednesday when he campaigned at Cornell College in Mount Vernon Oct. 17.

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