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Obama, McCain Keep Iowa In Their Sights

This story was written by Anna Lothson, The Daily Iowan

Now that the primary/caucus season is over, the McCain and Obama campaigns are ready to tackle the economic concerns many Iowans have expressed. Both have voiced their support for the working-class people of Iowa, though they have each accused the other with being disconnected from the needs of the American public.

While Republican hopeful John McCain has been sitting in his position for months, Democratic nominee Barack Obama has just recently clinched the final delegates from his party.

Caleb Hunter, the executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa, said that over the next few weeks, the number of offices will increase across Iowa.

"You will see a significant investment in McCain's time in Iowa," Hunter said.

With the current crunch of high gas prices, Hunter has said the McCain campaign will work in Iowa as well as across America to help the growing economic problems.

"The gas-tax holiday is a huge issue, especially with the rural makeup of the state where many have to make significant commutes," Hunter said.

Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, also said the biggest issue his candidate plans to address in Iowa is the rising price of gas. Obama will build support in Iowa just as strongly as he did in the caucuses. "We will continue to build a grass-roots campaign with the people of Iowa," Vietor said.

Obama's heavy campaigning in Iowa last fall and winter - and McCain's skipping the Iowa caucuses - will carry over to the general election, Vietor said.

The heat between McCain and Obama continues to rise, but they have both said they will maintain high standards.

"A trend I see is that they have promised to run more 'high-brow' campaigns rather than personal attacks," said Tim Hagle, a University of Iowa associate professor of political science.

Adam Jacobi, a former UI student who attended an Obama rally in Des Moines in May, believes that the race has begun in the right direction.

"It is a sign that old politics are out the window; they have shifted into the 21st century," he said. But he qualified that by saying: "I'll be surprised if they stay above the belt."

As the buzz from the primary/caucus season dies down, the race to the White House has just begun.

"People can start to see where the issues will begin as they get more detailed," Hagle said. "They will start to question the candidates."

Both the McCain and Obama campaigns said they were preparing plenty of appearances in Iowa, because the state will be a critical battleground.

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