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Former Republican Congressman Jim Leach Campaigns For Obama

This story was written by Ivy Christianson, Iowa State Daily

A former Republican congressman is crossing party lines this election season.

Former Congressman Jim Leach, a Republican, was in Ames pulling for Barack Obama on Thursday.

Obama began his campaign with a theory of change and it has taken on a profoundness of a vastly deep nature, Leach said.

While he is completely supportive of Obama and his campaign, Leach focused mainly on his economic policies and how Obama can pull the country out of the funk it is currently going through.

Most economists believe, based on events in the last month, that the likelihood of recession next year is 80 to 90 percent, Leach said. We are in a tremendous trauma as a country; it is absolutely, utterly unprecedented. We have experienced a weakening of standards.

Obama-Biden Iowa spokeswoman Jennie Lee said Obama plans to greatly help college students, too.

Senator Obama has outlined numerous proposals that will benefit young people who are struggling in todays economy, she said. Sen. Obama will provide a $4,000 college credit for students who perform community service; he will make health care more affordable and he will invest in Iowa-produced renewable energies, which will create good-paying jobs.

Leach also said he feels Obama is also very welcoming to alternative energy and fuel sources.

Everybody is talking about energy and we, as Iowans, have thought that we didnt have a particular stake [in energy sources]. Now, with ethanol, we are a major part of the energy situation, he said. Obama wants to work with ethanol, whereas McCain wants to drill, drill, drill. We also have recently discovered the capacity to collect wind. Northwestern Iowa is a great place for wind coming out of the Rockies. This [collection of new energy opportunities gives us a new job base we never thought of, and Im pleased to say that Obama is leaned toward that.

Leach said that not only does Sen. Obama support alternative energy, especially in Iowa, but hes just an all round cool guy. His personality and friendliness toward others is something that has stuck out in Leachs mind.

One of the very interesting phenomena is that he can reach out to people and it seems to be almost instinctive. Hes a very different candidate, he said. There is nobody that doesnt like Barack Obama.