WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa — 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.