Thursday, January 17, 2008

Obama Rising Roundup: Iowa Edition December 14-20

From December 20th, 2007

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Cross-posted at One Million Strong

Welcome to the third Obama Rising Roundup: Iowa Edition. Again I'm a day late but I got tooth extractions yesterday and didn't want to write it while I looked like Bill Kristol. Anyways despite my mouth problems it was a great week for Barack Obama's historic campaign for change. He swung through Iowa again, received a TON of new endorsements and much more.

Endorsements:

Susan Klopfer may not be a elected official or a party official but she has a great story on why she turned to Barack. It became the number 1 most watched video for the week on YouTube for a reason. I'll let you read her whole story.

My name is Susan Klopfer, and I was a big Hillary Clinton supporter when this race started. I got involved early on, licking stamps, stuffing envelopes, and doing what volunteers do. But I’ve been really disappointed lately to see all these attacks she’s been making on Barack Obama.

When her campaign went after Barack for saying he wanted to be president in kindergarten, I thought: "Now this is really silly, what is this campaign coming to?"

Making these kinds of negative attacks just isn’t what Iowans are interested in. We’re interested in what candidates are going to do about the big challenges we face, whether it’s universal health care, fighting global climate change, or ending this war in Iraq.

So I kept seeing this disconnect because the candidate I was supporting wasn’t focused on the same things I was focused on. And I finally said no, I’m not going to stay a supporter of hers anymore. So yesterday, I pulled her campaign sign out of my front lawn and put a Barack Obama sign in its place.

It was always hard for me to support another candidate, but not anymore. Barack Obama doesn’t believe in negative campaigning. He’s focused on what’s really important – bringing Americans together so we can finally solve our problems.

So today, I’m proud to call myself an Obama supporter. And I hope you’ll share my story with anyone you think is also tired of silly attacks, and interested in bringing about real change.

And here is the video:

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Susan may not be a well known name but newly elected congressman Dave Loebsack is. His victory in 2006 was one of the biggest upsets of the year and he is already representing the 2nd Congressional District with strong, progressive leadership. On Monday he endorsed Barack Obama for President. Loebsack was a professor and Democratic Party activist before running for congress so his endorsement is likely to carry weight with undecided grassroots activists. Here was his statement on endorsing Barack:

In a field of strong candidates, Barack is the strongest. What impresses me about Barack is his commitment to changing the way business is done in Washington. He understands that to pass universal health care, make energy independence a reality, and meet the other challenges we face, we need leadership that can bring all Americans together around a shared purpose.

Obama is energizing, organizing, and mobilizing ordinary Americans to get involved in their democracy in a way I haven’t seen in a long time. And he’s building the kind of grassroots movement that will not just make him the most electable Democrat in a general election, but will help him enter the White House with a mandate for change that Washington can’t ignore.

He also posted a full endorsement blog on the Obama HQ Blog. Check it out.

The Iowa City Press Citizen which is the largest paper for Iowa City endorsed Obama. Here is a excerpt from it:

After seven years of being lost in the wilderness of oppositional presidential politics, Democrats now seem well positioned to do in 2008 what they failed to do in 2004: Replace a rogue cowboy president with a new president capable of uniting the country and resetting the nation's foreign policy and global reputation. The Press-Citizen Editorial Board thinks Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is the best candidate in a well qualified field of Democrats to make those long overdue changes. We endorse his candidacy enthusiastically.

...Obama has the right vision for a new national politics and a new global reputation. He now needs voters and supporters who will help him transform that vision into reality. It's a transformation that should have started three years ago. Neither the nation nor the world can wait any longer.

Read the whole thing here.

Also Rekha Basu, who The Nation's Ari Berman calls "the [Des Moines] Register's most insightful political columnist" split with her papers editorial board and wrote a glowing endorsement of Barack. Here is some of it:

I remember wishing Hillary Clinton would run. Not last January, when she announced, but before the 2004 election, when someone with her intellectual heft and stature was needed to stand up to the Bush/Rove/ Rumsfeld cabal and dismantle its agenda.

But Clinton didn't run then, and when she jumped into this year's race, days after Barack Obama, it was a different field and a different moment.

This moment belongs to Obama.

The White House is virtually imploding after four more years of bungling the war, the economy and domestic crises such as Hurricane Katrina. With the president's poll numbers in the 20s and Rove, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft on the run, this is the moment for a fresh start.

This newspaper has endorsed Clinton on the Democratic side. I respect its decision. But after sitting through most of the same candidate meetings, watching, reading, listening and searching my conscience, I've concluded Obama is the one who can best pull off what needs to happen.

Clinton is smart, hard-working, gutsy and tough enough to absorb all the muck that's come her way. But Obama is simply a better candidate. He's that rarest of leaders, combining roots in white Midwestern America with black Africa, and experience both organizing in barrios and editing the Harvard Law Review. He's got idealism, compassion and intellect. And he lacks the baggage Clinton comes with, including all the controversies that swirled around her husband's White House. Nor is he compromised, as she has been, by the Senate vote that got us into this quagmire in Iraq...

Read it all here.

As if all of those endorsements were not enough six more Iowa Democratic Party Chairs endorsed Obama bringing the total up to 20 County Chairs supporting Barack. Here is a full list of the party chairs endorsing Obama.

Jim Jameson—Appanoose County Democratic Chair
Bob Nelson—Audubon County Democratic Chair
Ron Donald—Benton County Democratic Chair
Becky Lyon—Boone County Democratic Chair
Howard "Butch" Heisterkamp—Carroll County Democratic Chair
Vern Harper—Franklin County Democratic Chair
Brian Kingsolver—Fremont County Democratic Chair
Nicole Friess-Schilling—Greene County Democratic Chair
John Cramer—Guthrie County Democratic Chair
Gloria Goll—Hancock County Democratic Chair
Terry Kocker—Humboldt County Democratic Chair
Steve Hanson—Iowa County Democratic Chair
Buzz Malone—Lucas County Democratic Chair
Joe Judge—Monroe County Democratic Chair
Dennis Cole—Page County Democratic Chair
Chuck Wredt—Pottawattamie County Democratic Chair
Carl Vandermeulen—Sioux County Democratic Chair
Jan Bauer – Story County Democratic Chair
Steve Prickett—Van Buren County Democratic Chair
John Ralls—Winnebago County Democratic Chair

Iowans from all over the state are realizing that Barack Obama is the right one to win next November and fundamentally change America and endorsements in the last few weeks are the ones that matter the most.

Campaign Events:
Barack Obama:
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Barack was back in Iowa this week. He visited Cedar Rapids, Manchester, Oelwein, Mason City, Spirit Lake

Jesse Jackson Jr.:
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When you think of progressive leaders in America Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is one of the first that will come to mind. Jesse has known Barack for nearly 20 years and he has been quite active in promoting his candidacy. Iowa HQ has the scoop.

Off topic but, Jackson 2016!

Caucus for Change Precinct Parties:
As I wrote about last week the Iowa campaign put on Caucus for Change Precinct Parties in precincts all around Iowa. We are now hearing reports of success. Precinct captains organized nearly 1,000 Caucus for Change Precinct Parties covering 1,710 of the 1,781 precincts in Iowa - that's over 96%! And more than 10,000 Iowans attended the parties in all 99 counties of Iowa. A turn out effort of this magnitude - three weeks before Caucus Day - has never been done before. This is truly a historic campaign. Below is a video, featuring Helen Kwan, a precinct captain in Bettendorf, and her precinct party. Over than 50 people came to Helen's house, including a 99-year-old lifelong Iowan who is caucusing this year for the very first time - for Barack Obama. That kind of invalidates the claim that only young people support Obama.

Judgment to Lead Foreign Policy Forum:
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On Tuesday Barack and three of his top foreign-policy advisers held a forign policy forum. Dr. Susan Rice (Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs), Tony Lake (National Security Advisor to President Clinton), and General Scott Gration (Ret. Major General in the Air Force). Unfortunately my favorite of his advisers, Samantha Power (Author of A Problem From Hell) was not there. Even without her it was a great event. Barack and his advisers took questions from potential caucus-goers and discussed Senator Obama’s specific plans to end the war in Iraq, renew American diplomacy, pursue aggressive diplomacy with Iran, fight terrorism and extremism, reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, and invest in a 21st century military. Here are some excepts from Barack's remarks.

There are moments in history when it is not enough to fall back on conventional ways of doing things, because the threats we face, the challenges we face, are unconventional. There are moments when we’re called to stand up for what is right even if it’s not popular, because that’s what makes us stronger and safer. There are moments when new challenges demand new American leadership. This is one of those moments; I am running for President to offer that leadership; and I welcome the support of all who will help me chart this course.

...

I am running to do more than end a war in Iraq – I know that that has been at the heart of our foreign policy debate for the last several years. But I am even more interested in ending the mindset that got us into war. It’s easy for us to lay all of the problems of the world at George Bush’s doorstep. His judgments will be subject to the harsh light of history, and the verdict will not be kind. But the question is what comes next. Because we also have to change a conventional way of thinking about foreign policy that values time in Washington over timely judgments; posturing over pragmatism; and fear of looking weak over the conviction to get things right. Here, I ask you to look no further than my record.

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We need a President who is willing to talk to all nations – friend and foe. Not talking doesn’t make us look tough, it makes us look arrogant. It also makes it harder to get international support when we do need to pressure countries like Iran, and opens the door to China and Russia to fill the vacuum left by the absence of American leadership. We have to stop giving countries the excuse that America will not come to the table. We have to lead, and that’s what I intend to do as President.

If you want to listen to his full remarks the audio is here.

Caucus Location Finder:
The Iowa Democratic Party has released the Iowa Caucus locations and the Obama campaign has set up a great website for Iowans to find their caucus location. So if you are in Iowa please look it up. But if you don't want to as the Onion says it's probably the darkest and most boring building in you're area ;) The campaign also released this great video of Barack asking people to caucus:

Other:
Last week I showed you a great video of dedicated Obama supporter diving into freezing water for charity. This week some enthusiastic Obama volunteers dropped off boxes of Toys for Tots that had been collected at the Oprah events and at all 37 offices around the state. Toys for Tots is a great charity and I'm glad that his campaign is helping out in the community.

And once again here is that video from last week. It's just too good to miss.

Last Word:
I put this together because of how important Iowa is going to be. I've been pouring over a lot of articles on the Obama campaign and I thought I'd share them. But please do more then just read this. Chip in to the Obama campaign to give them the resources to win Iowa, take a trip to Iowa and volunteer for Obama call anyone you know in Iowa and beg them to caucus for Obama. We've got momentum but we still need to work with every inch of our body. We need a real change in 2008 and Barack Obama will give us that change. Democracy begins with you, activism begins with you. Tag, you're it!

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