On NBC's Today Show this morning, presidential adviser David Axelrod downplayed the idea that the president's Thursday trip to Northern Iowa would mark the start of his campaign to sell the American people on the virtues of the health care plan. Instead, Axelrod portrayed the trip as a bit of a closing of the circle -- a thank-you letter of sorts to the "grassroots" movement that propelled him and his health care vision to office. What Axelrod means is that the visit is aimed at fortifying Democratic enthusiasm at a time when Democrats are primed to be enthused. (Before the health care bill's passage, Republicans held a 13 point advantage among high interest mid-term voters.)
But the president needs to remember something else about Northern Iowa: it was hit by disastrous flooding in June of 2008, and the recovery has been slow, hampered in part by the economic decline. In fact, the government says that Cedar Rapids, Iowa will have lost about half of its small businesses by the end of this year.
I would be surprised if the president doesn't spend time talking about jobs, the Recovery, and government competence. If he does not, he will appear tone deaf to Iowa voters, who are very frustrated, and have reason to be frustrated.