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Obama Staying Above the Fray With Message on Service

DES MOINES -- Sen. Barack Obama has seemed to float above the fray over the last few days -- barely acknowledging attacks from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on the campaign trail and leaving it to his campaign aides to object to (and raise money off of) what they describe as a wave of negativity from the national front-runner.

Obama has taken subtle digs at Clinton. On Monday, he wryly dismissed her attempt to use a comment he made in kindergarten against him. And on Tuesday night, at a college rally in Grinnell, he pointed to a student -- referred to now as the "plant" -- who had previously been told to ask a question at an earlier Clinton rally. (Obama did not call on her).

Today, Obama is staying on his mellow message with a speech about "national service." He is continuing to urge out-of-state college students to cast their ballots on campus in Iowa -- an entirely legal process, but one that his rivals have complained about -- and calling for more volunteerism. He has left the dueling with Clinton -- in particular, over Iran -- to former Sen. John Edwards, who drew sharp distinctions with the New York senator during their NPR debate here on Tuesday.

Obama addressed students at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and laid out a vision of a more service-oriented future that includes expanding the AmeriCorps program, doubling the Peace Corps, establishing an "America's Voice" initiative to recruit and train Americans to speak foreign languages, and enlisting more people over age 55 into community service effort.

"Through service, I found a community that embraced me; a church to belong to; citizenship that was meaningful; the direction I'd been seeking," Obama planned to say, according to an excerpt released by the campaign before his speech. "Through service, I found that my own improbable story fit into a larger American story."

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Washington Post editors  |  December 5, 2007; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog  
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Comments

Did it ever register with you that Oprah may very well be siding with Obama not because of his race or gender, but because she believes he is the best leader amongst the candidates. She's realized she would receive negative opinions on race and gender. But heck, like Obama who went against the 70% of Americans who voted yes with the War on Iraq, they both do what they believe in.

Posted by: Jskillz18 | December 6, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"... Also can someone explain what's wrong with Oprah? How can her support not be based on Race... And she is one of the out spoken personalities who was against race and gender biased, it's what helped propel her to the wealth she has today, what a true shame is now her True colors have shown and I think it will effect her viewers in time. Wise up daytime woman viewers...Id never watch or support anything Oprah has a hand in ever again..."
Posted by: dyck21005
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From your comments, it looks as though you are already convinced that Obama is not a good candidate at all, and plan to support Clinton for the Democratic nomination. If that is the case, then you place an undue bias upon your judgment of all Obama supporters.
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I, a white male, also support Obama's candidacy - but I assure you that I don't do it out of some kind of "guilt" or "reverse prejudice". Nor am I a "traitor" to some illusory union of white people.
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I support Obama for the same kinds of reasons Oprah does - Obama is an inspirational candidate, who give us hope to believe that the U.S. is not doomed to degenerate into a police state, and that our latest reprise into the "Red Scare" era will soon come to an end. I support Obama because I'm tired of the cynicism that allows bad politicians to get reelected because of "experience" (a.k.a. connections) and not their ability to inspire and lead their constituents. Yes, I am well aware of his genetic heritage and gender, and so is Oprah, I am sure. But, if you fail to see that we are literally enthralled with the possibilities that would blossom in an Obama Administration, then all you will see is ethnicity and gender.
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As a Clinton supporter, I assume you can relate to the idea that people can be supportive of a candidate that you believe in - or at least believe in the kind of politics your preferred candidate would promote. But, you should at least acquiesce to the notion that some do not see hope and intellect on "The Big Pink" (HillaryIs44 website) as you might, and Oprah and I would fit into that category.
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Also, you also have to admit that, right or wrong, we have every right to support the candidate of our choice. But, to accuse Oprah of being counterproductive to Civil Rights because she has put 100% support in Obama is supposition at best. We support Obama because we DO love our children, our country, and our world, and we are convinced that an Obama Administration will do far better to insure their future than a Clinton Administration.
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I admit, this may not be the answer you were hoping for. I'm not sure if such an answer exists than would satisfy you, but this is the truth as I know it. I recommend that you take an objective look at all of the candidates, and if you are still carry conviction for Senator Clinton, then I can only hope that you do so for scrupulous reasons.
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Dr. Greg

Posted by: ghodges | December 6, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Hillary has to DEFEND herself from these attacks; otherwise voters might believe that obama crap!
just wait, obama will come out in the next day or with a proposal very close to Clintons, he cannot come up with anything on his own. He doesn't know politics yet... Also can someone explain what's wrong with Oprah? How can her support not be based on Race... And she is one of the out spoken personalities who was against race and gender biased, it's what helped propel her to the wealth she has today, what a true shame is now her True colors have shown and I think it will effect her viewers in time. Wise up daytime woman viewers...Id never watch or support anything Oprah has a hand in ever again...

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 6, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

People are coming to see Oprah, just like a train wreck, you stop, look, and keep going, doesn't mean they will vote for obama? The saddest part of this is that Oprah is using her TV viewers that supported her show because she has praised herself as being opposed race bias and especially gender discrimination, NOW LOOK AT HER, completely the opposite. We are witnessing the true Oprah Winphrey. I can tell you as a previous black woman and faithful oprah viewer, I will no longer be interested in anything that is connected to oprah... She just put women back 50 years and black women back 100 years! PLEASE Wise up IOWA /NH ladies! This is about the safety and security for ALL our children, their education and most importantly their health care. Shame on you Oprah for selling out your supporters...We adored who we thought you were...

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 6, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Obama is right to take the high road here since there may be more at play within the Clinton camp than mere lust for a fight: I believe Mrs. Clinton has come to the conclusion that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is to stop him in Iowa even at the cost of driving up Hillary's own negatives.
If both lose Iowa as likely through Clinton's suicidal but also destructive smear campaign, the calculation is that Mrs. Clinton will still prevail everywhere else - John Edwards would not have the resources to fight on and Obama would have hit a roadblock. This appears to me to be the tough and coolheaded calculation Mrs. Clinton is making. Only time will tell if this was one more example of her questionable judgment.

-- Posted by Dossevi Trenou

Posted by: dossevi.trenou | December 5, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the only candidate that has a chance of bringing the nation back to together again.

Posted by: zb95 | December 5, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

CLINTON SLEAZE WILL INVIGORATE GOP, DISPIRIT DEMOCRATS AND SINK DEMOCRATIC TICKET
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It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
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The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where assaulting, torturing and murdering people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
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Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
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Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
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Do we want a President who sends a \"crime does pay\" message to society?
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Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan and Nazi Party.
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We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
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If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22gang+stalking%22.
.

Posted by: avraamjack | December 5, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I am glad he is staying above the fray -- it looks comical HRC scratching around the floor at nothing; and he doesn't need to comment. Love the web-page and like the service agenda -- he will make an inspiring president; one that our children can respect and aspire to be like.

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

What happened Anne? Did Hillary kiss your boyfriend or something?

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

Obama is being taken apart piece by piece by the Clinton Machine. They are swift-boating him.

Edwards will win Iowa. Hillary cannot risk losing Iowa to Obama, and is willing to self-destruct herself and Obama in Iowa, and move on to States where she is ahead, with Edwards having more ground to make up.

Like Huckabee, Edwards has to come to the front now.

Posted by: river845 | December 5, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

This is exciting news.
What Senator Obama is talking about here comes out of his guiding principles / doctrine . . .personal responsibility, building relationship, building trust, bettering the lives of our fellow man.
Senator Obama respects and embraces diversity of opinion. He has a record of successfully working with folks who've been locked in ideological battle, turning their faces toward finding common ground, and thereby building a beter future for all.

This is what we need domestically and in our relationship to the rest of the world.
He understands that by improving others' lives we improve our own . . .and we make the world safer and more sane for everyone.

Thank you Senator Obama for your vision and your wise leadership. Hooray!

Posted by: ricknej | December 5, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Uh, MVAVREAU- Hate to break it to you, but in the Year 2008, I would not be voting foe Abraham Lincoln Either!

Posted by: rat-the | December 5, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Seems like Obama has done a pretty fair job of organizing and managing a national campaign. You can't say the same for every presidential candidate in this year's batch or wannabes of the past.

It won't take much for a fresh executive team to improve on the present bunch.

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 5, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Not many people recognize this, but Obama actually has more experience than Hillary. He spent over 5+ years as State Senator and the past 3 years as US Senator. Hillary has been Senator of NY since 2000. You can do the numbers.

It's funny that people have searched over the mountain top for dirt on Obama and they draw nothing more than abstractions on his character and resume. How about something a little more concrete and then we'll have something to debate about. Kindergarten teacher?...lol. Wow, that was pretty disappointing on Hillary's part. I actually remember writing a speech on wanting to become President. If I run, I'll certainly start telling people now so they don't ask my 2nd grade teacher about it. I have nothing against Hillary, it's just that Obama will make a MUCH better President. MLK jr. had a dream that still lives on, why can't Obama. America....please stop being scared of change because the same picture won't be painted differently with 20 years of 2 families in the White House. Nothing against Bill, but he did lie to America on National TV. So please don't endorse his wife off the basis of Bill's "honesty."

Posted by: Jskillz18 | December 5, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The press and Clinton camp is really trying to push this non-issue. Obama is asking Iowa college students who will be visiting their families over the holidays in other states to return early enough to their Iowa homes to caucus Jan 3rd. College students are adults, adults often move to study/work/live in states other than the state they were raised in. That state then becomes their home.

Hillary must really be desperate.

Posted by: ESR1 | December 5, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey rat-the, no qualifications, eh? I suppose you believe Lincoln was a terrible President and had no experience, right? Obama and he had exactly the same resume, with Obama's a little richer on community organizing and bipartisan politics.

OBAMA 08!!

Posted by: m.favreau | December 5, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama understands some things about the public mood in America at this time that Hillary Clinton clearly does not: namely, that people are completely fed up with the old boy network of corrupt back room deals and machine politics as usual that the G.W. Bush administration has delivered to us in abundance. That's why Obama is starting to move ahead, and why Hillary is starting to lag behind. That's why Obama is an agent of change for a country that sorely needs it. And that's why I support Barack Obama to become the next President of the United States.

Posted by: mvkniat | December 5, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

His "SERVICE"?

The Dude runs for Senator, and before he even accomplishes Squat, he pretends he is John Kerry and ditches his Job to try to go and play Exectutive!

Look at how many days he has not been a Senator, and make me laugh my A off some more about his SERVICES!

He has NO business or qualifications to be the Exectutive-or even in the Exectutive Branch!

What would his qualifications lead to? Congressional Law reviewer?

Posted by: rat-the | December 5, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The Obama campaign is doing a very effective job. The Clinton machine is stalling and rolling backwards in the wrong direction. You will see a very large win for Barack Obama in Iowa and the conservative type, "values" voter will turn to Huckabee, the Christian instead of Romney, the non Christian.

Christianity
*The belief in one, triune, God.
* The world was created by God.
* Satan is a created being
*Jesus was the incarnate son of God.
*There is no other Gospel by which men will be saved.
* There is no marriage in heaven.
* The bible is the word of God.

Mormonism
* There are many Gods over many planets,
by being good they can become god of their own planet
* Jesus and Satan are brothers
* Marriage is eternal and they will be married and have spirit children together in heaven*
* They believe they are the only true church
* The Bible has been corrupted and is
poorly translated, the Book of Mormon is another "testament" and is considered the
"Gospel" to the Mormons'

Romneys speech will nothing like Kennedys speech. This nation was built on Christain values and beliefs, our traditions are based on Christianity. Catholics are Christians. Mormons are not. They use the same words and terminology but they have different meanings. Many people believe religion should not matter to voters. Many others want to support a candidate that shares the same belief. Some people don`t believe in God. Its all your right , but lets not pretend we are one thing when we are not. OK Mitt ?

Posted by: eSPO1 | December 5, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the new JFK

Posted by: gobanana910 | December 5, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

He will make a very fine president to me and that is why l love him and l employ everybody to stand by him to make America great again.

'A nation healed, a world repaired'-----President Barack Obama.

Posted by: nkgilb | December 5, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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