While most of the political attention aimed at Iowa Tuesday focused on the GOP field, President Obama rallied Democratic caucus-goers in the Hawkeye State, pointing to first-term accomplishments and recalling his 2008 run.
Speaking to voters by way of a temperamental video connection from a Washington hotel, he challenged supporters at eight caucus sights across the state.
"We've still got a lot of work to do," the president said. "But think about the change that was accomplished because of those caucuses four years ago."
Mr. Obama went on to list first-term wins such as the passage of his health care law, ending the Iraq war and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy that barred gay service members from serving openly in the military. The speech echoed themes he regularly addresses at fundraisers and appearances to sell parts of his jobs bill. The president said opposition to those accomplishments is the reason backers should continue their support through the 2012 election.
"[T]here are a lot of forces that want to push back against us and want to undo some of those changes," he said. "And we're battling millions of dollars of negative advertising and lobbyists and special interests who don't want to see the change that you worked so hard to fully take root. And that's why this time out is going to be in some ways more important than the first time out."
Most of the GOP presidential candidates attacked President Obama's record as they gave speeches in the wake of the Iowa caucus and no matter the Republican nominee, the general election is expected to be a contentious battle between the president and his opponent. He told supporters they'll need to channel their good feelings from the last election if he is to win this one.
"So the only way we're going to be able to do that is if all of you maintain the same determination, the same energy, the same drive, the same hopefulness, the same optimism about this wonderful country of ours as was on display four years ago," he said.
Despite the Obama campaign's fundraising prowess and strong organization, the president pointed back to the grassroots effort in his 2008 campaign to energize the Iowa crowd.
"[O]ne of the things that we learned four years ago was that when people at grassroots level are getting involved and they're getting engaged, and they're feeling empowered and they're joining hands with each other -- that's a powerful force," the president said.
President Obama travels to the swing state of Ohio Wednesday to continue his push for parts of his jobs legislation.