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TSPR Local

Santorum, O'Malley Campaign in SE Iowa

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Jason Parrott
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TSPR
Democrat Martin O'Malley campaigns in Burlington. He stood on a chair during the entire speech to make sure people could see and hear him.

Rick Santorum and Martin O'Malley are polling quite low in the 2016 Presidential campaign, trailing front-runners such as Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Hillary Clinton. Despite that, they brought messages of enthusiasm and confidence to stops in Des Moines County.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
Republican Rick Santorum (center) greeting residents prior to a town-hall meeting in West Burlington

Santorum spoke to about 20 people at the Ivy Bake Shoppe in West Burlington. The former U.S. Senator (R-Pennsylvania) covered a wide range of topics in just under an hour, focusing in particular on the need to grow the U.S. manufacturing base.

"The focus of this campaign, from the very beginning, is going to be on trying to provide opportunities for those in America who haven't seen either political party... create good jobs and opportunities," said Santorum.

"There is something to be said for returning to an industrial, manufacturing base.  As the manufacturing base has declined, the middle class has hollowed out."

Santorum said restoring the U.S. to the status of being the top manufacturing nation in the world is going to take a lot of hard work, which he is willing to do. He said his plan starts with what he calls a "fair, flat tax" that will be significantly lower than what some people and businesses are paying now.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
Santorum covered a wide range of topics during his hour-long meeting, including ISIS, Obamacare, same-sex marriage, and the manufacturing sector

"It's going to be the same tax rates on individuals, corporations, capital gains, dividends, income," said Santorum.  "So Warren Buffet's secretary and Warren Buffet are going to pay the same percentage of taxes... which we think is fair."

Santorum would also push to make it more enticing for U.S. companies to bring overseas profits back home through lower taxes.

"We believe trillions of dollars will come back to this country and go into the pockets of everything from dividends to more importantly, plant equipment and investments."

Santorum also used his time in West Burlington to voice his opposition to Obamacare and to the Iranian nuclear deal and to explain how he would take the fight to the so-called Islamic State and how he would establish work requirements for welfare recipients.

Just as Santorum was wrapping up his town hall meeting, Martin O'Malley was just getting set up at Digger's Rest Coffeehouse in Burlington.  

It was a tight squeeze into the small shop on Jefferson Street.  Some attendees and staff members had to stand in the kitchen while O'Malley, a former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor, stood atop a wooden chair so people could see and hear him.

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Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
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TSPR
Democrat Martin O'Malley meeting with customers at Digger's Rest in downtown Burlington.

The Democratic candidate used his first visit to Burlington in several decades to paint a more broad picture of why he entered the race.

"I want people to know that they have a choice," said O'Malley.  "They have an opportunity to caucus for new leadership that can get things done.  (Leadership that can) make our economy work again for all of us and build the American dream so we leave our kids a better future instead of a lesser future."

O'Malley said he is running a campaign of ideas, even asking those in the crowd to share thoughts with him or his staff.  He acknowledged this will be a tough climb, but he believes his administrative experience will separate him from the rest of the field.

"Legislators are important and it's important to have debates," said O'Malley.  "But when it comes to actually getting things done, that's an executive discipline.  Working collaboratively with the legislature to put together the different combination of votes required to get things done and be able to manage a large, large bureaucracy."

O'Malley said he supports increasing the minimum wage, creating a college option that allows students to graduate debt-free,  and making it easier for employee unions to return to their previous status.

Both candidates stressed the need for Iowa residents to get out and campaign hard for them, especially when the Iowa Caucus rolls around in January.