Friday, May 30, 2008

Obama Rising Roundup: Iowa Edition December 21-27


Cross-posted at One Million Strong

Welcome to the third Obama Rising Roundup: Iowa Edition. On time this time despite more teeth crap. There is only one week left until the caucuses and the Obama campaign has come off a great week and is ready for a great final week to close the deal. He has been gaining lots of momentum and today gave a speech that is being called the "best-written speech of the campaign" in which he presents his closing arguments to Iowa. This will be the last edition of this as I will be in Texas during the last few days that lead up to Iowa. So enjoy!


On Friday The Daily Iowan, the newspaper of the University of Iowa endorsed Obama. Here is a excerpt of that endorsement addressing the claims that he lacks in substance.

From the start, Obama was viewed as charismatic but lacking in substance. Now, fewer than two weeks from our state caucuses, this is no longer the case. Obama's commanding oratorical abilities should not distract voters from his policy proposals, objectives that outline a return of "united" to the United States. We believe his judgment and ideas are the best fit, not just for a party but for a people. We believe Obama represents the best of our polity and a better future for our nation, which is why he is receiving The Daily Iowan's endorsement.

Read the full thing here.

Most people think it's just the youth that are for Obama and they don't vote anyways. But it's simply not true. He was also endorsed by The Woodbine Twiner on Friday. The Twiner is the weekly newspaper of Woodbine, a town with an estimated population of about 1600 people in 2006. Here is some of that endorsement:

After speaking with each Democratic candidate, we endorse Barack Obama for president. If Obama can run the United States and surround himself with professionals as he has his campaign, we're confident he can be that agent of change. The junior senator from Illinois has electrified crowds all over the Hawkeye State, yet he's still new enough in the Beltway to inspire our hopes that things can change in Washington, D.C.


Obama has not forgotten that we must all work together to get things accomplished. Sure, Republicans and Democrats will forever bicker. But Obama gives us some sort of hope that the two parties can work as Americans – not divide as partisans...As we repair our image around the world and begin to focus on issues back home, Obama gives us the hope both can happen.

Although important, both of those papers don't have extremely large circulations. The Sioux City Journal doesn't either but no papers in Iowa do because Iowa is fairly small. The Sioux City Journal is one of the largest though and guess who they endorsed? In one of the better endorsement editorials I have read they endorsed the next president, Barack Obama.

The morning of Jan. 20, 1961, dawned under a bright sky. Despite a heavy snow, the blinding sun's reflection forced poet Robert Frost, 86, to put aside the copy of the inaugural poem he had prepared and instead recite from memory "A Gift Outright."

The poem set aside soared, and John F. Kennedy epitomized Frost's "young ambition eager to be tried," delivering one of our finest political speeches.

This is not 1961. There are striking parallels, however, between the landscape our country faced then and today, representing a challenge few generations are charged with answering, and "the trumpet summons us again."

Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate who best understands this critical moment in our nation's history. He is equipped to bring a fractured people together and possesses the gifts to move us forward, united with a common mission, ready to answer that call.
That is why we are endorsing the U.S. senator from Illinois in the Jan. 3 Iowa Caucuses.

Students, rural people and urban people. All uniting behind Obama. So is Iowa's Latino community and on Thursday, El Latino newspaper, the Iowa weekly Spanish-language newspaper with 15,000 readers, endorsed Obama. El Latino is the first Spanish-language newspaper in Iowa to ever endorse a presidential candidate. Here is all of that historic endorsement entitled "To Elect Barack Obama is to Elect a Better Future for Everyone":

El Latino Newspaper is proud to be the first Latino newspaper in Iowa to make public our opinion on the future of the US. Like many members of the Latino community in Iowa, we work very hard to secure a better future for our families, we pay taxes, and contribute--- economically, socially, and culturally to our communities. Our work and civil duty gives us the right to evaluate all the presidential candidates—Democrats as well as Republicans and determine who is the person who best represents the interest of the Latino community and has the character and leadership to unite the nation for progress.

After carefully studying the presidential candidates, the editorial team at the El Latino, has decided to endorse Senator Barack Obama. Since Obama’s father was an immigrant and Obama is a minority in the US, he not only understands the Latino community, he feels it—the good and the bad. We identify with Obama and are convinced that he understands the issues that directly impact Latino families: issues like immigration, education, the War in Iraq, civil rights, and small business development.

The most important thing is that these issues get implemented in Congress. No other presidential candidate, particularly divisive candidates, can unite Congress and secure the votes to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. We believe that Obama is the only candidate with the capability to change the immigration laws to keep our families together and give everyone the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.

We are proud once again to take this historic position in the state of Iowa. We know very well that an endorsement of a candidate is something controversial and that many people may not agree with. Although we are living in difficult times, we are also living in a time of much opportunity and hope. We believe that Obama is the candidate of hope and the future. We make the decision to endorse with conviction, bravery, and the confidence that he bests represents a better future for our families and community. We ask with all our heart that all members of the Latino community in Iowa attend that caucus to vote for Barack Obama, January 3 at 6:30pm.

On Thursday the Ottumwa Courier endorsed Obama becoming the seventh newspaper to endorse him, putting him into the lead in newspaper endorsements. Here's a bit from the editorial:

Americans clamor for change. And every election cycle, a candidate or several candidates will offer his/her ideas on how they would change the course of American governance.

But Iowa Democrats have a real choice next month and there is one politician who we believe will not only create change, he’ll inspire others to do the same.

Barack Obama has earned our support in the Iowa caucuses.

"I think this is a ‘change’ election," he told the Courier editorial board. "Change is more than just changing political parties. The culture of politics in Washington has to change. And to change it, you’ve got to get the American people involved."

Read it all here.

Not only is Obama leading in newspaper endorsements he is also leading in the number of state legislators who support him. With the endorsement of Iowa state Rep. Wayne Ford he now has the support of 20 different Iowa legislators.

Here's what Rep. Ford said about his support:

Barack’s ability to win the support of independents and Republicans means he’ll both be our party’s strongest general election candidate and a President who can successfully expand economic opportunity and access to affordable housing for every American – including those who live in urban communities. I am glad that Sen. Obama has invited me to be a part of his team as he looks at implementing his national urban agenda. This endorsement isn’t just about my name. I intend to spend the next 11 days working to ensure that Barack Obama makes a strong showing on caucus night in Iowa and in the primaries that follow across the country.

Senator Obama was honored to receive Rep. Ford's endorsement and said this:

I am grateful to Representative Ford for signing on to our campaign and adding his support and his voice to our team in Iowa. Representative Ford has been leading the fight against rising incarceration and high school drop-out rates for years, and I'm glad he's agreed to be a leader for our campaign. We're building a statewide movement of Iowans from every corner of the state who are ready to put the divisive politics of the past behind us and bring to Washington the kind of change we can believe in.

Ford is not just a representative for his district he is also a nationally recognized urban leader who helped start the Brown & Black Presidential Forum, the oldest Presidential debate focused on minority issues, which he co-founded and has co-chaired since 1984. Ford was wildly expected to back Clinton and so this endorsement is a big get for Obama.

Including Rep. Ford, Senator Obama has received a total of 20 endorsements from Iowa state legislators. Here's the full list:

* Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad
* Rep. Deborah Berry
* Sen. Joe Bolkcom
* Sen. Bob Dvorsky
* Rep. Wayne Ford
* Rep. Elesha Gayman
* Sen. Bill Heckroth
* Rep. David Jacoby
* Rep. Pam Jochum
* Rep. Helen Miller
* Sen. Rich Olive
* Rep. Donovan Olson
* Rep. Tyler Olson
* Rep. Janet Petersen
* Rep. Brian Quirk
* Sen. Tom Rielly
* Rep. Paul Shomshor
* Rep. Mark Smith
* Sen. Steve Warnstadt
* Sen. Frank Wood

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, former Iowa Democratic Party Chair Gordon Fischer and thousands of Iowans from around the state have also endorsed Senator Obama's campaign for change.

Campaign Events:
Barack Obama:
Barack Obama has been campaign around Iowa for the last week although it's nothing compared to the crazed pace at which all the candidates will be speeding through Iowa in the coming week. He made a stop in Washington where Congressman Dave Loebsack, who recently endorsed Barack, introduced him. Here is some video from that event:

He also made stops in Indianola, Council Bluffs, Mason City, Fort Doge and Carroll.
Michelle Obama:
Michelle has been stumping around Iowa as well. She visited Fairfield, Adel and Creston.

Meet Precinct Captain Marjorie Marsh:
The Obama campaign often puts together great videos of supporters but this one is truly inspirational. Just watch it:

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:

What would a roundup be without this great video. Obama is now on a tour called "Stand for Change" but this guy is running into cold water for change and that's what our nation needs the most.

Our Moment Is Now:
Instead of having a last word this week I'm just going to leave it up to the canidate. He made a great closing case for his candidacy today. Seriously just watch and read the whole thing, it's that good.

Ten months ago, I stood on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and began an unlikely journey to change America.

I did not run for the presidency to fulfill some long-held ambition or because I believed it was somehow owed to me. I chose to run in this election – at this moment – because of what Dr. King called "the fierce urgency of now." Because we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. Our planet is in peril. Our health care system is broken, our economy is out of balance, our education system fails too many of our children, and our retirement system is in tatters.

At this defining moment, we cannot wait any longer for universal health care. We cannot wait to fix our schools. We cannot wait for good jobs, and living wages, and pensions we can count on. We cannot wait to halt global warming, and we cannot wait to end this war in Iraq.

I chose to run because I believed that the size of these challenges had outgrown the capacity of our broken and divided politics to solve them; because I believed that Americans of every political stripe were hungry for a new kind of politics, a politics that focused not just on how to win but why we should, a politics that focused on those values and ideals that we held in common as Americans; a politics that favored common sense over ideology, straight talk over spin.

Most of all, I believed in the power of the American people to be the real agents of change in this country – because we are not as divided as our politics suggests; because we are a decent, generous people willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations; and I was certain that if we could just mobilize our voices to challenge the special interests that dominate Washington and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there was no problem we couldn’t solve – no destiny we couldn’t fulfill.

Ten months later, Iowa, you have vindicated that faith. You’ve come out in the blistering heat and the bitter cold not just to cheer, but to challenge – to ask the tough questions; to lift the hood and kick the tires; to serve as one place in America where someone who hasn’t spent their life in the Washington spotlight can get a fair hearing.

You’ve earned the role you play in our democracy because no one takes it more seriously. And I believe that’s true this year more than ever because, like me, you feel that same sense of urgency.

All across this state, you’ve shared with me your stories. And all too often they’ve been stories of struggle and hardship.

I’ve heard from seniors who were betrayed by CEOs who dumped their pensions while pocketing bonuses, and from those who still can’t afford their prescriptions because Congress refused to negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price.

I’ve met Maytag workers who labored all their lives only to see their jobs shipped overseas; who now compete with their teenagers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart.

I’ve spoken with teachers who are working at donut shops after school just to make ends meet; who are still digging into their own pockets to pay for school supplies.

Just two weeks ago, I heard a young woman in Cedar Rapids who told me she only gets three hours of sleep because she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can’t afford health care for a sister with cerebral palsy. She spoke not with self-pity but with determination, and wonders why the government isn’t doing more to help her afford the education that will allow her to live out her dreams.

I’ve spoken to veterans who talk with pride about what they’ve accomplished in Afghanistan and Iraq, but who nevertheless think of those they’ve left behind and question the wisdom of our mission in Iraq; the mothers weeping in my arms over the memories of their sons; the disabled or homeless vets who wonder why their service has been forgotten.

And I’ve spoken to Americans in every corner of the state, patriots all, who wonder why we have allowed our standing in the world to decline so badly, so quickly. They know this has not made us safer. They know that we must never negotiate out of fear, but that we must never fear to negotiate with our enemies as well as our friends. They are ashamed of Abu Graib and Guantanamo and warrantless wiretaps and ambiguity on torture. They love their country and want its cherished values and ideals restored.

It is precisely because you’ve experience these frustrations, and seen the cost of inaction in your own lives, that you understand why we can’t afford to settle for the same old politics. You know that we can’t afford to allow the insurance lobbyists to kill health care reform one more time, and the oil lobbyists to keep us addicted to fossil fuels because no one stood up and took their power away when they had the chance.

You know that we can’t afford four more years of the same divisive food fight in Washington that’s about scoring political points instead of solving problems; that’s about tearing your opponents down instead of lifting this country up.

We can’t afford the same politics of fear that tells Democrats that the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, act, and vote like George Bush Republicans; that invokes 9/11 as a way to scare up votes instead of a challenge that should unite all Americans to defeat our real enemies.

We can’t afford to be so worried about losing the next election that we lose the battles we owe to the next generation.

The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result. And that’s a risk we can’t take. Not this year. Not when the stakes are this high.

In this election, it is time to turn the page. In seven days, it is time to stand for change.

This has been our message since the beginning of this campaign. It was our message when we were down, and our message when we were up. And it must be catching on, because in these last few weeks, everyone is talking about change.

But you can’t at once argue that you’re the master of a broken system in Washington and offer yourself as the person to change it. You can’t fall in line behind the conventional thinking on issues as profound as war and offer yourself as the leader who is best prepared to chart a new and better course for America.

The truth is, you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change. I believe deeply in those words. But they are not mine. They were Bill Clinton’s in 1992, when Washington insiders questioned his readiness to lead.

My experience is rooted in the lives of the men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I fought for as an organizer when the local steel plant closed. It’s rooted in the lives of the people I stood up for as a civil rights lawyer when they were denied opportunity on the job or justice at the voting booth because of what they looked like or where they came from. It’s rooted in an understanding of how the world sees America that I gained from living, traveling, and having family beyond our shores – an understanding that led me to oppose this war in Iraq from the start. It’s experience rooted in the real lives of real people, and it’s the kind of experience Washington needs right now.

There are others in this race who say that this kind of change sounds good, but that I’m not angry or confrontational enough to get it done.

Well, let me tell you something, Iowa. I don’t need any lectures on how to bring about change, because I haven’t just talked about it on the campaign trail. I’ve fought for change all my life.

I walked away from a job on Wall Street to bring job training to the jobless and after school programs to kids on the streets of Chicago.

I turned down the big money law firms to win justice for the powerless as a civil rights lawyer.

I took on the lobbyists in Illinois and brought Democrats and Republicans together to expand health care to 150,000 people and pass the first major campaign finance reform in twenty-five years; and I did the same thing in Washington when we passed the toughest lobbying reform since Watergate. I’m the only candidate in this race who hasn’t just talked about taking power away from lobbyists, I’ve actually done it. So if you want to know what kind of choices we’ll make as President, you should take a look at the choices we made when we had the chance to bring about change that wasn’t easy or convenient.

That’s the kind of change that’s more than just rhetoric – that’s change you can believe in.

It’s change that won’t just come from more anger at Washington or turning up the heat on Republicans. There’s no shortage of anger and bluster and bitter partisanship out there. We don’t need more heat. We need more light. I’ve learned in my life that you can stand firm in your principles while still reaching out to those who might not always agree with you. And although the Republican operatives in Washington might not be interested in hearing what we have to say, I think Republican and independent voters outside of Washington are. That’s the once-in-a-generation opportunity we have in this election.

For the first time in a long time, we have the chance to build a new majority of not just Democrats, but Independents and Republicans who’ve lost faith in their Washington leaders but want to believe again – who desperately want something new.

We can change the electoral math that’s been all about division and make it about addition – about building a coalition for change and progress that stretches through Blue States and Red States. That’s how I won some of the reddest, most Republican counties in Illinois. That’s why the polls show that I do best against the Republicans running for President – because we’re attracting more support from Independents and Republicans than any other candidate. That’s how we’ll win in November and that’s how we’ll change this country over the next four years.

In the end, the argument we are having between the candidates in the last seven days is not just about the meaning of change. It’s about the meaning of hope. Some of my opponents appear scornful of the word; they think it speaks of naivete, passivity, and wishful thinking.

But that’s not what hope is. Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task before us or the roadblocks that stand in our path. Yes, the lobbyists will fight us. Yes, the Republican attack dogs will go after us in the general election. Yes, the problems of poverty and climate change and failing schools will resist easy repair. I know – I’ve been on the streets, I’ve been in the courts. I’ve watched legislation die because the powerful held sway and good intentions weren’t fortified by political will, and I’ve watched a nation get mislead into war because no one had the judgment or the courage to ask the hard questions before we sent our troops to fight.

But I also know this. I know that hope has been the guiding force behind the most improbable changes this country has ever made. In the face of tyranny, it’s what led a band of colonists to rise up against an Empire. In the face of slavery, it’s what fueled the resistance of the slave and the abolitionist, and what allowed a President to chart a treacherous course to ensure that the nation would not continue half slave and half free. In the face of war and Depression, it’s what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation. In the face of oppression, it’s what led young men and women to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through the streets of Selma and Montgomery for freedom’s cause. That’s the power of hope – to imagine, and then work for, what had seemed impossible before.

That’s the change we seek. And that’s the change you can stand for in seven days.

We’ve already beaten odds that the cynics said couldn’t be beaten. When we started ten months ago, they said we couldn’t run a different kind of campaign.

They said we couldn’t compete without taking money from Washington lobbyists. But you proved them wrong when we raised more small donations from more Americans than any other campaign in history.

They said we couldn’t be successful if we didn’t have the full support of the establishment in Washington. But you proved them wrong when we built a grassroots movement that could forever change the face of American politics.

They said we wouldn’t have a chance in this campaign unless we resorted to the same old negative attacks. But we resisted, even when we were written off, and ran a positive campaign that pointed out real differences and rejected the politics of slash and burn.

And now, in seven days, you have a chance once again to prove the cynics wrong. In seven days, what was improbable has the chance to beat what Washington said was inevitable. And that’s why in these last weeks, Washington is fighting back with everything it has — with attack ads and insults; with distractions and dishonesty; with millions of dollars from outside groups and undisclosed donors to try and block our path.

We’ve seen this script many times before. But I know that this time can be different.

Because I know that when the American people believe in something, it happens.

If you believe, then we can tell the lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.

If you believe, then we can stop making promises to America’s workers and start delivering – jobs that pay, health care that’s affordable, pensions you can count on, and a tax cut for working Americans instead of the companies who send their jobs overseas .

If you believe, we can offer a world-class education to every child, and pay our teachers more, and make college dreams a reality for every American.

If you believe, we can save this planet and end our dependence on foreign oil.

If you believe, we can end this war, close Guantanamo, restore our standing, renew our diplomacy, and once again respect the Constitution of the United States of America .

That’s the future within our reach. That’s what hope is – that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better is waiting for us around the corner. But only if we’re willing to work for it and fight for it. To shed our fears and our doubts and our cynicism. To glory in the task before us of remaking this country block by block, precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state.

There is a moment in the life of every generation when, if we are to make our mark on history, this spirit must break through

This is the moment.

This is our time.

And if you will stand with me in seven days – if you will stand for change so that our children have the same chance that somebody gave us; if you’ll stand to keep the American dream alive for those who still hunger for opportunity and thirst for justice; if you’re ready to stop settling for what the cynics tell you you must accept, and finally reach for what you know is possible, then we will win this caucus, we will win this election, we will change the course of history, and the real journey – to heal a nation and repair the world – will have truly begun.

Thank you.

7 days 'till change.

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