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In Final Iowa Push, Obama Stresses Importance of Change


Obama meeting with the crowd before his speech in Des Moines. (Reuters).

By Shailagh Murray
DES MOINES--In a new speech that will frame the final week of his Iowa campaign, Sen. Barack Obama drew his sharpest contrast yet with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, arguing that her experience is the wrong kind to bring the change to Washington that 2008 voters are seeking.

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

He continued, "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 speech was billed as Obama's closing argument in a race that is essentially believed to be a three way tie, between Obama, Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards. But before he began his prepared remarks, Obama addressed an event that underscores the contrast, in particular between him and Clinton, on the issue of world affairs, the murder this morning of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

"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."

The Illinois senator acknowledged that the climate could get ugly in the days ahead."In seven days, what was improbable has the chance to beat what Washington said was inevitable," Obama said. "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."

He took credit for turning the Democratic nomination battle into a referendum on change, with all the candidates now offering some version of it.

"This has been our message since the beginning of this campaign," said Obama. "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."

In another jab at Clinton, Obama made reference to one of her campaign themes, that she would "turn up the heat" on Republicans.

His brand of change, Obama said, "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."

Obama was introduced by a local Republican woman who is supporting him, and it was this segment of the speech, where he made the case of his electability, the drew the biggest crowd roar:

"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," Obama said.

"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 were 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."

By Washington Post editors  |  December 27, 2007; 1:27 PM ET
 
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Next: Outside Groups Press Their Case

Comments

Top 10 Contradictions in Obama

1. [Obama on Not just change political party but change the game and players in Washington] Then why play the same game at all with the same players whose support he now seeks? Does he realize that while his rhetoric may be ideal, it's not the pragmatic necessary and urgent issue/call for America at this time?

2. [Obama on the right kind and wrong kind of experience] Obama does not realize that what he has is the POTENTIAL to have the right kind of experience. Unfortunately, now is not the time and the Oval Office is not the place to be earning and learning that experience. No president can be perfect but America cannot go from one extreme (GWBush) to another extreme (BHObama). The experienced person can fail and there is greater probability that an Inexperienced person would fail.

3. [Obama on judgment] One judgment call on the Iraq issue does NOT mean Obama would have good judgments on a gamut of complex issues. From what's been reported he has avoided making a vote on crucial issues. And he only has very limited experience to showcase an array of judgment calls, which did not even do that except showcase tasks that he did just as he ought to. It's not a fair claim by Obama.

4. [Obama on the Iraq issue] America does not live by "Iraq" alone. It is not even a simple right or wrong issue. Lucky Obama - the present sentiment is just rendering him to seem right. If he has no concrete and significant experience in the world stage and security matters, it would indeed be a gamble to have him as president.

5. [Obama on the establishment] How can Obama posture to bring a new face and a new way in the establishment when he brings with him a circle of close advisers and staff from the Clinton administration? Employing "Clinton minds" around him means he embraces the Clinton policies.

6. [Obama on his policies] His policies are hybrids from policies that have been strongly initiated by and identified with his rivals. He talks of what's wrong with past policies and other candidates' policies but does not have an original policy of his own. He wants people to look only to the future because he has INsufficient past to substantiate the rhetoric he gives in the present.

7. [Obama on hope] It will be unfair to speak of hope that does NOT rest on substance and can NOT stand on a concrete relevant experience to make it happen. That would be tantamount to a manipulation of a people's desperation.

8. [Obama on triangulation] He is equally guilty of triangulating. Most of the time he draws the first snipe and criticism. Then he complains of negativity when his rivals counter his (and his campaign's) attacks. And at worst, he speaks in abstracts and generalities which give him room to parse. But his motives remain equally questionable.

9. [Obama on character] Other candidates have been in public eye longer than he has. Naturally there is more to be played up about their faults and failings. But it does not mean Obama has a better character than the rest. He simply is an unknown character. Perhaps his eagerness to be elected now has much to do with that - for time might soon catch up with his closet and be found more lacking in character. If that happens, the presidency would be more difficult for him to win.

10. [Obama on family values] It is good that he has not yet gone through serious marital and family problems. It's expected given that he's young and his marriage is new. But there is much more that can be said about family values with Hillary - forgiving an unfaithful husband that mirrors her capacity to heal a nation's wounds - raising a decent daughter that mirrors her capacity to restore respectability to America - showing personal strength and discipline that mirrors her capacity to be commander-in-chief - keeping generational bonds in the family that mirrors her capacity to inspire bipartisanship.

Obama may be good and experienced enough for Illinois but not yet for America.

Posted by: readingbetweenlines | December 29, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Here's to a reduction of waffling while copying others' proposals. Here's to an end of weary, angry, cynical railing against a "vast conspiracy." Here's to a return toward civility in our nation.

Here's to an Iowa victory by Barack Obama.

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 28, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

JakeD: Yes

Posted by: sam51 | December 28, 2007 3:32 AM | Report abuse

sam51:

Are you referring to RACIAL enlightenment?

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

petekwando and fatflush:

My prediction above re: Obama was no more of a "threat" within my control than the local weatherman warning about rain -- I am very aware of the legal requirements set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 871 and related caselaw -- next question?

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

on bhutos assassination
At first glance, the unrest roiling a crucial part of the world would
seem to help Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Clinton has built her
campaign around experience, which has become something of a code word
for "grown up" over the course of the year. Her years in the White
House and Senate, combined with the establishment backing she has,
should make her at least appear to be the steady choice to handle
crisis situations like this.

But it's worth remembering that Clinton criticized Barack Obama
when he suggested earlier this year that the U.S. should use military
force to go into the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan
if evidence demonstrated that it would aid in the capture of al
Qaeda terrorist leaders like Osama bin Laden - with the permission
of the current government or not. A position which may have sounded
risky at the time may look better after today. Such an action may
not have prevented the tragedy but it's clear that Pakistan is
a growing problem - and that al Qaeda is a big part of it.
Obama can remind voters that he recognized that earlier.

Posted by: akissai | December 27, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

it turns out obama was right about pakistan after all ; just like he said during the debate , we took our eyes off the ball , we should have been in akistan fighting the real terrorists instead we landed in iraq thanks to hillary and bush;
their experience is incomptent and dangerous and we do not need it anymore.
thanks to bush and hillary s war in iraq the terroists are still out there in pakistan and afghanistan ; iraq was never about the war on terror ; it was made to be by hillary and bush ; the real war on terror has not been engaged yet in pakistan
by the way all the biggots and racists out there who hate obama i feel sorry for your stupidity and ignorance its sad that in
this country we still have people like you who refused to embrace the rich diversity of this country;
obama 08

Posted by: akissai | December 27, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I can see there's a lot of debate about which candidate to support - and rightly so. While candidates might support this and that there is one thing that is absolutely inexorable - the Rule of 72. What, you may be saying, does compound interest have to do with elections? Well, at this particular moment our debt is $9,140,774,041,671.00. Assuming we completely eliminate deficit spending (and which candidate would do that, huh?) and a current t-bill rate of 5% this 9 trillion dollar debt will become an 18 trillion dollar debt in 72/5 or 14.4 years. The interest on our CURRENT debt is $457 BILLION dollars. In fifteen years the INTEREST part of the debt will be a TRILLION dollars. This is a surer enemy than all the IslamoFascists in existence. This is a greater threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. than any foreign invader. This surpasses any conceivable wedge issue by several orders of magnitude. To put it bluntly, OUR COUNTRY IS BLEEDING TO DEATH. Triage of a most urgent sort is needed here. It's as if a patient had arterial bleeding and the "doctors" were ordering expensive lab tests. There IS a REAL doctor who can perform this triage. Dr. Ron Paul truly represents Hope For America!

Posted by: lnardozi | December 27, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama will be sworn in on January 20, 2009. He is the only true leader of the democrats running. He is the one that people want to follow. They don't want to follow Hillary.

He is right that they've been stealing from his campaign. He pointed that out to Hillary in one debate when she used his "turn the page". She's also been using his it's time to "stand up". They've stolen from his fund raising ideas. The Clinton campaign has not had one original idea of their own. People are finally seeing her for what she is, a phoney.

Posted by: GraceMN | December 27, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

THIS AN INVITATION FOR SEN. HILLARY CLINTON

The IOWA caucuses goers are just a week away for making their final decision about the hopeful each one chooses. I implore Sen. Hillary Clinton to play her Experience trump Card, by making available on the WEB for US citizens a paper of two pages summing up:
• HER PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AS LAWYER BEFORE AND DURING HER HUSBAND GOVERNISHIP
• HER PERSONAL PRE- US SENATE, STATE OR NATIONAL OR FIRSTLADY POLITICAL EXPERIENCE
• HER PERSONAL SENATE'S YEARS EXPERIENCE
There are tens of US Senators who professionally served and/or are serving wonderfully for about twenty years without annoying their citizens about EXPERIENCE.
I'm inviting her and her husband to cogitate the following French adage
Aux âmes bien nées, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des années.
Roughly translated it goes as:
For a gifted person, the value never waits for the number of years.
So as to stop them repeating endlessly the word EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, WHICH, IN FACT IS ILLUSIVE, NON-EXISTENT, OR RATHER AN EMPTY SHELL. COME ON! SHOW THE CARD NOW, IT IS TIME
If, mistakenly she self-appropriates the two terms of her husband in the White House, every caucus-goer or voter who chooses Sen. Hillary Clinton should be reminded that he or she is choosing the "Siamese Clinton couple" for a THIRD TERM in THE WHITE HOUSE.

Posted by: lawsondaku | December 27, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

THIS AN INVITATION FOR SEN. HILLARY CLINTON

The IOWA caucuses goers are just a week away for making their final decision about the hopeful each one chooses. I implore Sen. Hillary Clinton to play her Experience trump Card, by making available on the WEB for US citizens a paper of two pages summing up:
• HER PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AS LAWYER BEFORE AND DURING HER HUSBAND GOVERNISHIP
• HER PERSONAL PRE- US SENATE, STATE OR NATIONAL OR FIRSTLADY POLITICAL EXPERIENCE
• HER PERSONAL SENATE'S YEARS EXPERIENCE
There are tens of US Senators who professionally served and/or are serving wonderfully for about twenty years without annoying their citizens about EXPERIENCE.
I'm inviting her and her husband to cogitate the following French adage
>.
Roughly translated it goes as:
>.
So as to stop them repeating endlessly the word EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, WHICH, IN FACT IS ILLUSIVE, NON-EXISTENT, OR RATHER AN EMPTY SHELL. COME ON! SHOW THE CARD NOW, IT IS TIME
If, mistakenly she self-appropriates the two terms of her husband in the White House, every caucus-goer or voter who chooses Sen. Hillary Clinton should be reminded that he or she is choosing the "Siamese Clinton couple" for a THIRD TERM in THE WHITE HOUSE.

Posted by: lawsondaku | December 27, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

pmorlan1

Obama is correct. He was talking about change long before anyone else was talking about it. Then you hear Clinton and the others talk about change. It did not work for them and then they changed their tactics again. He said Fire UP and Ready to Go. Then Hillary came out with something similar. If that is not copying I do not know what is.

Posted by: ethelk2044 | December 27, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

...the only thing we will see on election day is if this country is as enlightened as some think it is...

Posted by: sam51 | December 27, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hillary has proven experience is not necessary. The Senator from NY has supported the policies of the "inexperienced" GW Bush from top to bottom. She is one of the reasons we have a mess in the Middle East.

Posted by: Maddogg | December 27, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama shows good judgment again.

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2007/12/27/politics/horserace/entry3651010.shtml

Also, Bhutto agreed with Obama in August by saying this.

Bhutto's reaction to Obama's Pakistan policy: "But the issue that I would like to stress is that Barack Obama also said, if Pakistan won't act. And that's the critical issue, that the government has to act. And the government has to act to protect Pakistan's own serenity and integrity, its own respect, and to understand that if it creates a vacuum, then others aren't going to just twiddle their thumbs while militants freely move across the border." -- Benazir Bhutto, August, 2007 ....

Posted by: ethelk2044 | December 27, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

America desperately needs genuine change and needs a fresh breath of air:OBAMA.

Posted by: asizk | December 27, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I got a real kick out of Obama claiming today on the campaign trail that the other candidates were copying his campaign. I couldn't believe he said that after practically channeling Edwards campaign all last week.

The closer we get to the election the more he changes before your eyes. He's starting to make Clinton look good.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | December 27, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I fully support Obama for President.

Alas, I see that some Obama volunteers in Iowa had some racial slurs painted on their home by some ignoramus.

Posted by: vbalfour | December 27, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama is on a roll but let's not get carried away.

He can win and will win in an electoral landslide if once he gets the nomination he (1) continues the same upbeat message; (2) adopts a much more reasonable tougher approach toward illegal immigration; (3) keeps any planned tax increases under wraps, especially FICA taxes; and (4) goes for the juggular of whatever sorry GOP nominee is chosen when they attack him and his family without mercy on racial (psst, he is black and is father is African, oh my!), religious (i.e, false accustations of being a muslim, worse than a mormon) and character (he used Blow as a young man, OMG!) grounds. I am ready to support him once he does 2 and 3 with the largest check I can give.

Posted by: merganser | December 27, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm really starting to get sick of the bigots/fascists/racists in the U.S. that have the nerve to equate Obama to any terrorists (Bin Laden) or who think his middle name - a common name from his background - has anything to do with ANYTHING.

Trying to use name association to smear a man of the highest credentials is so disgustingly anti-American it makes me sick. Go watch five minutes of one of Obama's speeches and it's pretty damn clear that he's not a Muslim, he's not anti-American and he's not affiliated with any ridiculous terrorist groups or the Islamofascist movement. You idiots need a good smack in the face to set you straight.

Posted by: thecrisis | December 27, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama voted for ammesety for Illegal Aliens even though they are destorying the working poor. He like all other Democrats will say or do anything to get elected and to hell with what American Citizens want or the future of this Nation>

Posted by: american1 | December 27, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

yaaaaawn, that's how I view any attempt at covering politics by Shailagh Murray

Posted by: havok26 | December 27, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

It is impossible for a candidate to win whom is hated by 50% of her party and by 100% of the other party. It is impossible for a candidate who motivates her opponent's base like even her opponents cannot, and is hated by 50% of her own party to win.

It is impossible for a wadhington insider like hillary to bring change. Just look at the job being done by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid...

hillary is UNELECTABLE in the general election.


VOTE OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!

Posted by: onestring | December 27, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

To:

You know, JakeD, a statement like that could be interpreted as a threat.

Posted by: petekwando | December 27, 2007 04:38 PM

It is probably a posting by HRC crew. And it is a threat. We all know that the Clintons are crooks, liers, thieves, murders, not really a normal married couple, selling off and selling out the USA to foreigners. Just take NAFTA, middle class gone, no manufacturing, MADE in USA jobs. Don't Ask Don't Tell. Stupid and waste of time.

Posted by: fatflush3 | December 27, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

To:

Obama will not be sworn in as President December 27th, 2007. That much I know.

Posted by: howlless | December 27, 2007 01:56 PM

As long as you and Hillary Clinton do not kill him, he will be sworn in and as long as the election is not fraud for HRC, he will. She is a Republic running as a Democrat because she wants to be in politics and its the only way she can get in because the Republicans would NEVER let her in.

Posted by: fatflush3 | December 27, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

You know, JakeD, a statement like that could be interpreted as a threat.

Posted by: petekwando | December 27, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Howlless,

You are right - Obama will not be sworn in as president on Dec. 27 2007. That is because he will be sworn in on Jan 20, 2009.

Great speech, Barack!

Posted by: Lioness1 | December 27, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The worst thing that ever happened to the Dims, was the World Labor Party's formation of the "Greens". By infiltrating Campuses, and getting all their little Bloggers politically hyperactive, they grabbed the momentum. Now, the Dims are going to have to pay the Piper!

The Clintons and Biden are "Old School" and Moderate. Obasama is the new wave Socialist. So is Edwards, and Richardson's followers!

As everyone keeps comparing the support of the Clintons with Barack Hussein's, they overlook the Edwards and Richardson Socialist support!

The Moderates are going to shortly find their beloved Party has been HiJacked by the Loony Left!

Welcome Moderates, to the American Loving "Big Tent"! Socialism does not work, and neither do the People!

Posted by: rat-the | December 27, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Who do you think is the best man/woman for the US Presidency?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1361

.

Posted by: PollM | December 27, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

dyck21005 -

Let's see, first of all, let's go to coal. He is from a coal rich state, and he is trying to help his state. If you do not like that, its fine.

Hillary (your candidate) voted against ethanol over and over again until it got close to her running for President. Wonder why?

Also, if you are worried about Obama being progressive enough, please take a look at this:

http://nationaljournal.com/voteratings/sen/lib.htm

and

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2007/Senate/senator-ratings.html

At least by intellectually honest about it

Posted by: mcmahon10 | December 27, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

HUFFINGTON POST-We decided to focus some light on criticisms that do make a difference to Democratic voters: what Obama has done when he's faced tough choices in office. Too often, the answer has been that's he's given in to pressure from the Bush administration or corporate lobbyists. wish one of his opponents would repeat these votes one after another in a speech:Obama voted for President Bush's energy bill, sending more than $13 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to oil, coal, and nuclear companies. Obama voted with Republicans to allow credit card companies to raise interest rates over 30 percent, increasing hardship for families on the brink. Obama voted for one of President Bush's top priorities - expanding Nafta to South America - even as President Bush obstructed all the top Democratic priorities. Obama voted with Bush to make it harder for ordinary people to hold big corporations accountable when they do things like sell toxic toys, poisonous pet food, or just plain rip you off. Obama was the Senate's biggest Democratic advocate of subsidies for liquid coal, even though liquid coal produces twice the global warming pollution of the crude oil it's meant to replace (Obama "backed off" this position after being pummeled by environmentalists for several months, but still, along with Clinton, voted for increased subsidies, albeit with conditions).Most of all, I think the thing progressives need to be most worried about is how Obama tells progressives to "trim their sails" - or cut back on their ambitions, for the sake of political harmony. If Obama were to win, I can just imagine hearing that phrase over and over again as Obama tried to recycle another Democratic campaign that attempted to paint himself as a mushy centrist, rather than a proud progressive. You can find out more about the ad - and how to get in on the air - at Democratic Courage

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 27, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"turn up the heat"... exactly what we DONT NEED. Thank you Obama for point that out. When and where did American go wrong. Some how we think that not talking to our enemies, and having this bunker mentality will make us look tough. Those days are over! Obama 08.

Posted by: atlmario | December 27, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Shailagh dug hard through the thesaurus to avoid using "attack". I wonder why. I do wish the Post would publish some sort of style guide for using that word, it is unevenly applied, I think.

Posted by: zukermand | December 27, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

He lives in the same niegborhood, senate as all the other Dem candidates, yet his different, last I heard this speech it was from the current president. HRC on merit is the best candidate.

Posted by: HSanabria | December 27, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

My guess is either Hillary or Rudy (maybe Romney if he can win enough early States), ednyo2000.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,
Let us know who you think will be sworn in, if you don't mind.

Posted by: ednyo2000 | December 27, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,
Do you kind telling us who you think will be sworn in instead of hiding behind glass doors?

Posted by: ednyo2000 | December 27, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Go Barack, the storm you started is in each of US, marching towards change we can believe in here and beyond our shores.

What an end to Bush-Clinton dynasty

Posted by: FebM | December 27, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Clinton made a fine First Lady. I wonder does she count picking out the White House pattern and menu as experience too.

Posted by: TennGurl | December 27, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama will be sworn in as President January 20th, 2009. That much I know.

Posted by: Rapcetera | December 27, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Actually, howlless, THAT is indeed theoretically possible -- see 25th Amendment and 3 U.S.C. § 19.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama makes a swell speech.

Posted by: ichief | December 27, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama will not be sworn in as President December 27th, 2007. That much I know.

Posted by: howlless | December 27, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, one of us is wrong ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama will be sworn in as President on January 20, 2009 -- mark my words.

Posted by: tfde3 | December 27, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama will not be sworn in as President on January 20, 2009 -- mark my words.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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