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Obama Targets Paul Ryan Over Farm Bill In Iowa

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President Barack Obama campaigns in Chicago on Aug. 13. (Sitthixay Ditthavong/AP)
President Barack Obama campaigns in Chicago on Aug. 13. (Sitthixay Ditthavong/AP)

President Barack Obama will waste no time going after presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan while campaigning in Iowa on Monday. Just two days after Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, Obama will highlight the Wisconsin congressman's opposition to the Farm Bill in a speech at a grassroots event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to excerpts.

The Midwest is currently suffering from the worst drought in half a century, leaving a critical gap in livestock production in the country. Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to pass a farm bill that would provide disaster aid to more farmers and ranchers.

In excerpts of the speech released by the Obama campaign, the president asks Iowa voters to tell Ryan, who will also campaign in the Hawkeye State on Monday, "how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities."

The president first commented on Ryan's new role on Sunday during a campaign event in Chicago.

"He is a decent man, he is a family man," Obama said. "He is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney's vision, but it is a vision that I fundamentally disagree with."

Below are excerpts from Obama's speech (emphasis added):

"Right now folks here in Iowa and across the heartland are suffering from one of the worst droughts in 50 years. Farmers and ranchers depend on a good crop season to pay the bills and put a roof over their heads, and I know that things are tough right now.

"The best way to help these states is for leaders in Congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty. But right now, too many members of Congress are blocking that bill from becoming law. Now, I'm told Governor Romney's new running mate might be around Iowa these next few days. And he's one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It's time to put politics aside and pass it right away.

"But the folks suffering from this drought can't wait for Congress to do its job. So in the meantime, I've made sure my Administration is doing everything we can to provide relief to those who need it. Last week, we announced $30 million to help farmers and ranchers, get more water to livestock, and rehabilitate land affected by the drought. Today, we're announcing that the federal government will help livestock producers by purchasing over $150 million worth of meat and fish now, while prices are low, and freeze it for later."

UPDATE: 1:12 p.m. -- Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, issued the following statement in response to Obama's remarks in Iowa:

“Paul Ryan hails from an agriculture state and supported disaster relief, and the truth is no one will work harder to defend farmers and ranchers than the Romney-Ryan ticket. After nearly four years of failure, it’s no wonder that Barack Obama returns to the state that launched his presidential campaign with nothing more than broken promises and false attacks. Iowans deserve better. As president, Mitt Romney will strengthen middle-class families in the heartland, create jobs, and turn our economy around.”

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