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DNC chair rallies local Democrats

Debbie Wasserman Schultz visits Dubuque in conjunction with the party's 'Gotta Vote' bus tour.

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:20 am, Tue Oct 2, 2012.

Most recent polls taken in Iowa have shown a bump for President Barack Obama.

But the head of the Democratic National Committee insists the campaign will not rest on any laurels.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the national committee, spoke to gatherers at Dubuque County Democrat headquarters on Monday morning in conjunction with the party's "Gotta Vote" bus tour. Shortly after speaking at an event to encourage early voting, Wasserman Schultz said the campaign is pleased to be gaining ground on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Iowa, but she knows well that much work remains.

"It's certainly nice -- would rather be up than down," Wasserman Schultz said. "But we're not taking anything for granted. That's why we're here."

Throughout the summer, Iowa earned swing-state status once again as polls showed Obama leading Romney here by very narrow margins -- one even had Romney leading Obama by a point. But multiple post-convention polls -- which may have been influenced by Romney's now infamous "47 percent" comment -- show Obama in the lead. A Des Moines Register poll published this past weekend showed Obama with a four-point advantage.

The Obama campaign would love to sustain that momentum going into the presidential debates, the first of which is Wednesday night. In an apparent effort to place the pressure on Romney, Democrats have been flattering the challenger's debate skills. Even Obama himself downplayed his debate prospects, saying at a rally in Las Vegas this past weekend that he is "just OK" at debating.

"Look, Mitt Romney, there's been a lot of attention paid to how much preparation he's had. President Obama has been preparing as well but, you know, he has a day job that is a bit time-consuming. Romney's been through a whole bunch of debates and has much more recent experience than President Obama does," Wasserman Schultz said. "It's going to be an interesting evening, but we are fully expecting the debates to be a milestone during the campaign. Mitt Romney we expect to show up fully prepared, and we're working hard, as is President Obama."

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and Iowa state Rep. Pat Murphy,

D-Dubuque, also spoke at Monday's event. In an effort to maximize voter turnout, Democrats are pushing early voting for the Nov. 6 general election. They are touting the websites gottavote.com and gottaregister.com, which provide information on registering and voting early in Iowa.

As of Friday, 61 percent of absentee ballots in Iowa were requested by registered Democrats, including 63 percent in the 1st Congressional District.

During his remarks, Murphy asked how many of the approximately 50 supporters in the crowd had voted already, and at least three-fourths raised a hand. Early voting in Iowa began this past Thursday; Iowa voters can vote early at the county auditor's office or via absentee ballot.

"If you know who you're voting for, there's no reason to waste your time," Murphy said. "Let's get it done. We're the first state on voting. Let's make sure you get your votes in."

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