IOWA CITY, Iowa — Scorching heat and a searing drought have made this one of Iowa’s worst summers on record. The corn is barely knee-high is some places, and analysts are predicting financial disaster for the state if the trend does not break soon.
But stunted plants and hungry cattle are not Iowa’s main affliction in this long, hot season, say residents. Rather, it is the attack ads that run constantly on local media.
“We are being bombarded,” said Kathryn, a fifty-something professional woman who has lived in Iowa for decades. “You cannot turn on the TV without seeing them.”
Iowa is a “swing state.” Although recent polls in the state give President Barack Obama a slight lead over his challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the race is too close to call. That’s made this small agricultural state the focus of unusually intense political activity.
Obama visited Cedar Rapids just a week ago to drum up support for his proposal to extend tax cuts for the middle class; his visit to the home of Jason and Ali McLaughlin was widely publicized.
Romney made Iowa stops during his four-day “Every Town Counts” bus tour, drawing fire from protesters along the way.