President Obama’s campaign trail took him to Iowa for three days this month, revisiting the state that made him a frontrunner in the 2008 presidential election. But this trip was different from the original four years ago—he faced smaller crowds of supporters who were dealing with a weaker U.S. economy, tougher job market, and a severe drought. Gone was the light-hearted nature of the previous campaign where he casually rode the bumper cars at the State Fair (although he did manage to enjoy a beer). In fact, Obama mentioned beer a few times when he spoke to various crowds during his nine-city tour of the state—what some observers see as a sly way to differentiate himself from opponent Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon who doesn’t drink alcohol.
Here the president and First Lady Michelle Obama speak at an August 15 rally in Dubuque, one of two scheduled for that day. Photographer Charles Ommanney, on assignment for Newsweek, followed the president’s campaign bus tour around Iowa.