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Politics Takes Hiatus in Flooded Iowa


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), left, accompanied by Louisa County, Iowa, Sheriff Curt Braby, tours the flooded area in Columbus Junction, Iowa, June 19, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Kari Lydersen
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Official campaigning ground -- or rather squished -- to a halt over the past week in Iowa as the state was inundated.

Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama canceled a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids last Wednesday, before the worst of the flooding hit, so as not to divert any state resources from flood relief efforts.

Both political parties have rescheduled their state conventions by two to three weeks.

As President Bush visited flood-ravaged Cedar Rapids and Republican presumptive nominee John McCain toured inundated Columbus Junction about 60 miles south on Thursday, locals said the November election was among the farthest things from their minds.

"People have more important things to worry about, like getting their business and home taken care of," said University of Iowa associate professor of political science Tim Hagle, noting this time of year is normally slow for campaigning in the battleground state anyway.

"We've been really light on campaign things lately with all the state's gone through," said Iowa Democratic Party press secretary Brooke Borkenhagen.

Unlike Hurricane Katrina, where botched recovery efforts were blamed largely on the Republican presidential administration, public opinion of the government's reaction to the Midwestern floods is not likely influence the election one way or another, say local experts.

"I don't think there will be a political fallout," said Republican Party of Iowa executive director Caleb Hunter. "I don't see either party trying to capitalize or punish the opposition as far as the disaster is concerned."

The Iowa state legislature and governor's office are controlled by Democrats, so any dissatisfaction about the government's response would, if anything, likely be directed at both the Republican federal administration and the Democratic state government.

"I haven't seen any complaints where people are angry with the government," said Hagle. "It wasn't poor planning, there wasn't corruption, there weren't a lot of the things you saw going on in New Orleans. But if things happen between now and November, such as difficulty getting the recovery process going, or if there's a road or bridge washed out that's not getting repaired, then you might get some frustrations."

At a Red Cross shelter on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids Thursday, several residents expressed bitterness toward President Bush and the Republican Party as a whole for the response to the floods. One man who declined to give his name cursed Bush and said he was never voting Republican.

Half an hour later, traffic was held up on the road just outside the shelter as Bush's motorcade passed. One young woman got out of her jeep to wave at the president.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 19, 2008; 7:25 PM ET
Categories:  Battlegrounds  
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Comments

To those of us who are recovering from this flooding, Altho I did take comfort in knowing that President Bush did come to offer his support and re-assurance that we were going to recover and be stronger as a result, in the end, this recovery effort IS up to us. If we lay on our backs and expect the govt to fix all of our problems, we become weak and dependant. The bricklayer, the carpenter, the independant electrician and the employees of the companies that produce the lumber, drywall and other materials we need to recover from this will be the ones behind our recovery, along with what we can do for ourselves. Its ordinary people doing extraordinary things that make our city, our state and our country the BEST place to live!! My thanks to the area churches, and Red Cross that came in to help out with hot meals and other needs for those that had temporarily lost thier ability to provide them for themselves.

Posted by: Chad | June 24, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Goodness. There's a lot of ignorance out there, hey?

Obama not only came and shovelled sand for half a day, cancelled his rally when requested, but also put a link up on his front page for donations to the Red Cross for relief for the flooded area.

In case you missed it, it's still there.

All McCain and Bush did was come and stand around and not even wring their hands. Look at the photos on Yahoo News photos and get with the complete news.

Posted by: elfpix | June 24, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Just my opinion but I think your Governor is full of it. Charity starts at home first, not Iraq nor Afghanistan where their people are getting plenty of aid. Just wondering if my Country Canada is assisting in any LEGAL and just way to help you folks. I'm older on a fixed below middle class wage, but I well send $50.00 if anyone can tell me where, with a guarantee it won't be squandered off to foreign companies, or rich and greedy American Companies.

Posted by: justadad55+ | June 23, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama came and filled sandbags. McCain came and wasted the time of a lot of security forces. He's old and can't do anything useful. He's just an old geezer, and should go and sleep for a while. Totally useless.

Posted by: POed Lib | June 20, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama cancelled because Gov. Culver ASKED him not to come during the flooding. Gov. Culver ASKED McCain not to come, but he came anyway. Presidential candidates pull local law enforcement away from other activities (like helping people in flooded areas) due to the need to provide additional security for the candidate. So who's the selfish one here?

Posted by: Iowa caucus goer | June 20, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Bush was busy getting Freedom Pins to give to his comrades who helped the oil execs pump more energy into the storm system that caused this "500 year flood".

Obama did what a Real President does.

No photo ops, just common sense.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 20, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Bush came. McCain came. Obama cancelled.

Although I am an Obama supporter, I think--no, I KNOW--Obama should have visited Iowa...Not only would it have been a good chance for him to put on a pair of jeans and a Hawkeye t-shirt and shovel some sand into a couple of sandbags, but HE OWES US! He owes Iowa big-time! Without us, Barack Obama would have been DOA in New Hampshire.

Think about it, Barack!

Posted by: Lance | June 20, 2008 11:42 AM

Did you not see the coverage? He was there last weekend filing sandbags

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Bush came. McCain came. Obama cancelled.

Although I am an Obama supporter, I think--no, I KNOW--Obama should have visited Iowa...Not only would it have been a good chance for him to put on a pair of jeans and a Hawkeye t-shirt and shovel some sand into a couple of sandbags, but HE OWES US! He owes Iowa big-time! Without us, Barack Obama would have been DOA in New Hampshire.

Think about it, Barack!

Posted by: Lance | June 20, 2008 11:42 AM

Did you not see the coverage? He was there last weekend filing sandbags

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Bush came. McCain came. Obama cancelled.

Although I am an Obama supporter, I think--no, I KNOW--Obama should have visited Iowa...Not only would it have been a good chance for him to put on a pair of jeans and a Hawkeye t-shirt and shovel some sand into a couple of sandbags, but HE OWES US! He owes Iowa big-time! Without us, Barack Obama would have been DOA in New Hampshire.

Think about it, Barack!

Posted by: Lance | June 20, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Obama has lied to a lot of folks in Iowa. He said that he felt our pains and would renegotiate NAFTA. But this week he went back on his word during an interview for Fortune magazine. He lied to us. We'll remember this in November.

Posted by: Disappointed | June 20, 2008 5:26 AM | Report abuse

I meant a a BET. You people are running out of funds, and all your heroic troops could be home helping. Lets see more millions filling the pockets of the rich. It's happening now as you suffer.

Posted by: justa dad55+ | June 19, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Want to place a vet politics will play a big role. Lets see how all Americans are treated again. World news.

Posted by: dad55+ | June 19, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

let us help the victims and set aside politics!!!

http://www.newsendorser.com

Posted by: newsendorser | June 19, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

dear mr.this summer time . I have been volunter for my-self for long time and have recived perfect quality assistance from ....the ex-broad com.chief "Henry T.Nicholas III.democratic future.sandra avila beltran. top lord.I think...analyze .

Posted by: arthur | June 19, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

So Bush and McCain were 30 miles apart without any attempt at a joint event. This is getting pathetic...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | June 19, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm,
Looking for a moderate Democrat or Republican to support who is fiscally responsible, not wanting to redistribute the wealth (sounds like socialism), and who will not make the Supreme Court all conservative. Why are no moderates running?

I read these articles and sigh that it is tax and spend Democrats or spend and spend more Republicans....I want fiscally responsible party to run this great country.

Posted by: Karen | June 19, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

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