Former Obama supporters in Iowa deeply disappointed
In Iowa, a rural state of outsized political importance, retired nurse Pauline McAreavy is among thousands eager to vote against President Barack Obama after four years of disappointment.
McAreavy holds a personal grudge against the president that dates back to 2008, when she hosted Obama's supporters for three weeks in the Midwestern state that nurtured his improbable White House dreams.
She never got a thank you note for her small role in helping land Obama in the White House, but McAreavy's antagonism goes deeper, the product of broken promises and accumulated disillusion with the "hope" promised by the man who has billed himself an "adopted son" of Iowa.
"Obama gave us this 'no red, no blue state' America," said McAreavy, 78.
"I was fooled, I kick myself everyday," she said. "I said: 'In four years I'll get you buddy -- and I'm going to.'"
Her home lies in the state's Iowa County, where residents gave exactly the same number of votes to Obama and his Republican rival John McCain in the 2008 elections: 4,173 votes each.
The Obama campaign is hoping that Iowa voters will reject his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who failed to win the Iowa caucus nominating contests in either of his two presidential runs, in 2008 and 2012.
But McAreavy is among many voters in midwestern Iowa -- which kicks off the presidential nominating contests every four years -- who have abandoned their allegiance to Obama's platform.
Their lack of support, revealed in two dozen interviews with Iowa County residents, is at the heart of the president's challenge in seeking a second term in what has become a very tightly contested White House race.
Sweeping in front of her house in Williamsburg, McAreavy recalled how she had thought Obama would bring a politically divided country together and that electing the first African American president of the United States would be "wonderful" for this country.
"He didn't, he tore us more apart. I did feel maybe the world didn't like America, but the world hates us more now than they did before!" she said.
The Obama boat is leaking.
Many voters who chose Obama last time around are quick to vent frustration over the discrepancy between what they had hoped from a historic Obama presidency and what actually transpired. Almost no McCain voters, meanwhile, seem ready to cast a ballot for the Democrat.
"I don't think he pulled Congress together enough to do something. He's not a leader," said McAreavy.
"He's more worried about his reelection. It infuriates me when after what happened in Libya, he went to a fundraiser in Las Vegas."
Even the president's supporters -- and there are still legions of them -- are gloomy. Many cite Republican control of the House of Representatives and its sizeable contingent in the Senate as extenuating circumstances. All search for excuses.As I note in the post below, Obama has lost most of the independents and swing voters. Democrats are dispirited at best. Iowa looks very winnable for Romney.