Why was R.T. Rybak in Des Moines?

DES MOINES, Iowa– Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is also the vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. That’s why he was in suburban Des Moines Friday morning holding a news conference with Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky. The focus of the event? Ripping Mitt Romney.

Rybak said Democrats are zeroing-in on Romney because he has consistently lead in the polls as the other GOP candidates have collapsed.

Rybak said if Romney wins Tuesday’s caucuses, he will not be able to claim a grassroots victory and instead will have to take credit for winning a multi-million dollar negative advertizing campaign. It’s not the way then-Sen. Barack Obama won the 2008 Iowa Democratic caucuses, Rybak said.

“Mitt Romney and the rest of this field mostly have been focused on trying to run a campaign from a TV studio. There have been some who’ve gone grassroots and door-to-door, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have done that,” Rybak said. “But Mitt Romney has basically just spent massive amounts of money with primarily surrogates, the closer he gets to the Iowans, the less they seem to like of him.”

On the issues, Rybak said all Romney has been consistent on is supporting tax cuts for the wealthy.

“He has been a weather vane on every other issue, but you know that he stands with those who already have a whole lot right now and the president stands most directly with the middle class,” Rybak said.

Iowa Democratic leaders are encouraging strong turnout for their caucuses next week, even though there is no race for the nomination on their side. They want to use the caucus time to further organize Obama’s re-election effort in Iowa. The Iowa Democrats who do show up will have a chance to hear a web address from Obama.

On Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign, Rybak said he would not dismiss her prospects, despite being in single digits in most polls of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers.

“I have never underestimated her, and I don’t think anybody should write her off right now,” he said. “Now Mitt Romney seems to be measuring the drapes of the Oval Office, but you know, Iowans will have a say.”

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