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Obama Woos Remaining Undecideds on Bus Tour

Obama chats up a voter in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Getty).

By Krissah Williams
STORM LAKE, Iowa -- On his tour through rural Iowa today Sen. Barack Obama pushed to invigorate his supporters and convince the handful of undecided Democrats that showed up that he intends to play in what has mostly been John Edwards territory. Before crowds of a couple hundred gathered in schools, Obama sought to differentiate himself from both Edwards and Hillary Clinton, with whom he is locked into a three-way tie here.

Obama is hitting four or five towns a day this week by bus in a swing of "meet the candidate" events that will take him to 22 counties.

The campaign drew a few hundred people in his first two stops at high schools this morning, mostly preaching to the choir. All but a few of the attendees said they had already planned to caucus for Obama, and he moved to consolidate his position by going after Edwards, who won an endorsement from the wife of the Iowa governor today.

"Everybody now in the campaign talks about how I am going to fight for you," Obama said at an earlier stop in Spencer, Iowa. "Like Senator Edwards, who is a good guy, he's been talking a lot about I am going to fight the lobbyists and the special interests in Washington. Well the question you have to ask is were you fighting for them when you were in the Senate? What did you do? Because I did something, immediately upon arriving in the Senate."
At one stop, retired federal worker Joan Martin, of Schaler, Iowa, nervously asked Obama how he could make her life better when she's struggling with survival on a small Social Security check and sees few job opportunities for her children.

"The key is not going to be who has got the best plans but who has got a track record for going after the special interests in Washington," he told her.

Martin filled out a supporter card and said she was torn between Obama and Edwards but most likely would caucus for Obama.

"I liked what he had to say," she said. "But if Edwards comes to town I'll go hear him speak. It won't hurt."

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 17, 2007; 6:08 PM ET
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No one is mentioning judgment. We are looking at a large field of contenders for the president who will be making vastly important decisions in regards to our nation and its role on the world stage and our lives.

Experience is being touted as the defining image, but look at the experience Rumsfeld, Cheney, and others that Bush surrounded himself with and look where it got us. Has Bush shown any judgment that generated good will? sound policy? Americans lost confidence in Bush and his cabinet because they lack intelligent reasoning and have been less than truthful to the electorate. They have been more interested in forcing ideology on the public whether we like it or not.

Hillary Clinton may claim she is more experienced, but is she? What about her judgment? Take Iraq and Iran as example. Her full support of waging war and continuing the occupation of Iraq is troubling. Her air of confidence, intelligence and a couple of other admirable qualities make her a viable candidate. However, experience is a false narrative because one can claim to have experience, but it does not make it so. Even if she has the experience it has not translated into wise decision making or sound judgment in several incidences.

Moreover I do not trust her. She does not directly answer questions and when challenged she gets testy at best about it. She is too reactive. We already have someone in office who makes reactive decisions that has cost us a lot! Hillary I believe will be more of the same as what we have now. She keeps those she trusts around her which are the very same insiders who have been in Washington for the past 15 years. They are the same insiders that will keep the country where it is now, in a stalemate.

Perhaps she knows her way around the annals of government, but so did Rumsfeld and Cheney. That alone ought to give one pause.

On the other hand, qualities I admire in Obama include his sense of judgment tempered with intelligence, his sense of balance and reasoned logic and his sense of justice. Obama's answers are generally measured and thoughtful, not the cookie-cutter type of answers most politicians give. He is responsive as opposed to reactive. I like Obama and I trust him to lead and move the country forward in a different direction. I believe he has the power to change the mind-set.

Experience is not an end to itself. Although Obama has plenty of experience it is his judgment that makes him stand out from the rest of the contenders.

Posted by: serena1313 | December 18, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama's message is fluff and I personally believe that it is also uninspired.

As a New Yorker, I know that Hillary has done great work in the Senate and she has managed to win me over. Obama has not done much work. He hasn't been in the Senate long enough to do so.

I think that Obama has the potential to be a great president someday, but it's just not his time to run. We need someone with extensive foreign policy experience; he lacks that. There shouldn't be on the job training as Bush has needed.

I think that his message of unity is nice, but it's nothing new. Obama has done very little in the Senate and without the "insider" experience, he's not going to accomplish anything in his ambitious agenda. Having an outsider is not always a good idea- look at Jimmy Carter.

That's why my vote will go to either Hillary or Bill Richardson.

Posted by: nycfc86 | December 18, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Once again another postively framed Obama article by the biased media. There's an incredible dearth of articles criticizing Obama, while there's no end to the number of articles criticizing Clinton. While Clinton by no means is a saint, it is a bit unfair to frame articles for Obama postiviely and ones for Clinton negatively. Take for instance the article in the Post about Obama being the sole candidate not putting his hand over his heart during the national anthem, this was reported as "the Patriot Police" nab Obama. Imagine if Clinton was the only candidate not to place her hand over her heart, do you think the media would've framed the information in a similar fashion? Also, look at Obama's naive remarks regarding his years spent in Indonesia as child suggesting that such an experience somehow makes him better qualified to conduct foreign policy. Clinton rightfully attacked this remark. Under this logic, the best policymakers would come from other countries so we should elect more foreign-born individuals to office. And again, the media potrayed this as a cheap shot by the Clinton campaign.
It is unfair. Obama can freely attack Clinton and say that he is justly asserting a point. While any response on Clinton's part is seen as mudslinging. It should be the response of the people to learn the true facts and not be blinded by a biased media. Also, the major media outlets really should practice objective reporting. In regards to the upcoming election, the media's responsibility is to report the news, not attempt to dictate the outcome of the election.


On a more serious note, vote for the candidate that you really believe is better for America, and not because of some skewed reporting by unprofessional, unethical journalists.

Posted by: RyanAi | December 18, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: johnycheng1
"Obama, the orator. Edwards, the agitator. HRC,the presidential material, take your pick."
Presidential material? In what way? Because Bill says so? If you have doubt that Obama is more than an Orator, check his record. And ask youself WHY does the Clinton campaign have to good back to his childhood days to find dirt on him? She says she is "fully vetted" - yeah, up until 2000. And that in itself is due to the unethical politics she has been part of that we have now. I would have voted for Hillary in 200 or 2004, just to get Bill back in the White house.
That's what many are doing today - until they hear Obama speak, and not in these 30 second sound bite debates. He is not ONLY an orator; he is The Real Thing. He genuinely cares about the people he represents and is knowledgable of how world leaders think...not just the way they behave.
I don't want a President I can sit down and have a beer with. I want someone who has more intelligence, more wisdom, more strength and humility than I do and certainly, more than you do. We need a President to be PROUD of!
Obama 08!

Posted by: sheridan1 | December 18, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.

Say no to nepotism.
Say no to triangulated Iraq vote disasters.
Say no to mud-sling machine politics.

It's time for America to Rise and Shine again.

Posted by: PulSamsara | December 18, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why anyone would think that Hillary is the most "electable" democratic candidate when she's been polling - consistantly for a while - at around 50% unfavorable/highly unfavorable. Don't get me wrong - I like Hillary, voted for her here in New York, and think she's done a fine job - but this woman will bring conservatives and libertarians out of the woodwork to vote against her. And if Bush/Rove taught us anything, those people have the numerical superiority.

If you think she's still electable with that statistic, consider this: if 50% of the electorate wouldn't vote for her, she'd need to capture 98-99% of those who aren't set against her. Those are ridiculous odds.....

Posted by: BABucher | December 18, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's experience is a track record of failures during her husband's term and refusal to admit when she's been wrong on issues like Iraq . She also repeated the same mistake with the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. We don't need another president with a track record of failure and cold pig-headed stubbornness. In the last campaign days she is now "acting" like she is a softer person.

Obama has been both successful in his legislative career -- a career longer than either Clinton or Edwards -- and able to admit and learn from those times when he's made mistakes. That's the kind of experience, honest, and judgement we need. We are where we are now not because of Bush's lack of experience - but because of his vision. We need new vision.

And if experience is your thing, Obama has that too:

- Senate Foreign relations committee

- Homeland Security committee

- Veterans affairs

- 10 years constitution law professor

- grassroots organizer

- State Senate

- US Senate

Posted by: Sis_O | December 18, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I am comforted by the fact that in each state that Obama puts forth a concerted effort to make himself known, people open up to him. This Independent is one of them.

Posted by: discipulus04 | December 18, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama and some of his supporters seem well intentioned, although they also appear to be running some kind of propogandist mob. But, face it, he has half a term as a U.S. Senator...He's going to be a turkey shoot for any experienced adversary in the general election.

Posted by: ttj1 | December 18, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Clinton's got as much of a chance of winning the general election as a bikini salesman in Kabul! Get over it!

Second those who celebrate a three way race in Iowa. It's one voter at time and that's as it should be.

Now about another blast from the past in "Magic" and Bill. Both appear and the "Hillacopter" gets put on ignore. So just who is running with the Clinton last name?

O save us! George, the father, George the son, and Jeb the holy ghost. "President" Hillary's gonna send Bubba around the world with George H.W. Bush? Yeah, and Dennis Kucinich is going to carry Iowa! Get real guys; we gotta a horse race.

Posted by: Smokescreen | December 18, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

ichief: I am very close to the idea that only Hillary can win for the Dems in 08. I have stated before and I will again, IMHO, Obama has a ZERO chance of being elected POTUS in 08. I base the opinion on my "Factor" list that include, but not limited to, "Envy/Jealous" and "Fear". This mainly consists of Repubs in the "Fear" Factor and higher income in the "Envy/Jealous" Factor of both parties.

Posted by: lylepink | December 18, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This post ties Michael Shear's "Snowed In" post for Most Accurate and Informative Post Ever on The Trail. Congratulations, Krissah.

Posted by: zukermand | December 18, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Obama selected as the "Person of the Year" This is GREAT!

Posted by: ensure365 | December 18, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Check out David Brooks in the NYT this morning. Sounds like he's trying to counteract Krugman, but he's doing a pretty good job:

Posted by: kathleen.mcgee | December 18, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

to Rise1999 - I'm not sure how important it is to attend a person can handle that. And...lest you feel to realize it, this is little more than a campaign act by Dodd.

Posted by: keith.gary3 | December 18, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey Ichief! At least it's merely people on a blog dissing Hillary. Hillary has some rather high ranking people doing it to Obama...Her hubby, Sheehan, Kerry just to name a few!

Posted by: keith.gary3 | December 18, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Gee...Why not consider Joe Biden for President in 2008?



Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 18, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Obama doesn't have to reinvent himself to reach out to undecideds.

Posted by: FirstMouse | December 18, 2007 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Truscott1 wrote:
*****Question of the day:

If Bill Clinton thinks his wife is 'the single most qualified person for president in America,' isn't he by virtue of this saying:

1. there are no black men or women in the entire country more qualified than his white, very wealthy wife.

2. there are no Hispanic men or women in the entire country who are smarter than a woman who flunked her first attempt to pass the bar exam.

3. there are no Asian men or women who are more qualified than a woman who last year made a joke about Ghandi having worked at a gas station.

4. there are no lesbian or gay people in the entire country more qualified than a woman who says she wants equal rights for all, but cuts them off with a 'civil union' cop-out.

5. there are no disabled persons in the entire country more qualified than Hillary.

Get the idea--the very demographic these two use to propel their 'careers' are never a part of their lilly white upper class political machines or cabinets.

EXACTLY why this conservative (who would vote for Condi in a heartbeat) made America's only politically confrontative music CD-one that takes on Hillary, Congress, and the whole Ward Churchill crowd. One-of-a-kind stuff @

Posted by: Truscott1 | December 18, 2007 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Obama, the orator. Edwards, the agitator. HRC,the presidential material, take your pick.

Posted by: johnycheng1 | December 18, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Aren't we as voters supposed to vote our hopes and dreams in every election? This is why I'm for Barack Obama.

This is not an anti-Hillary vote (I'm not anti-Hillary), this is a vote for my hopes and dreams.

Why Obama?
1. He does have experience. 15 years as a community organizer and his years in the Illinois Senate. I didn't know that the only experience that counted was Washington experience. If that's so, Bill Clinton should never have been President.

2. He, unlike Bill or Hillary, was against the Iraq conflict from the beginning.

3. He has proven time and time again that he is willing to LISTEN to all sides. Very little in politics is black or white; most of it is a shade of grey and we need somebody who truly recognizes that.

4. He does not demonize Republicans.

5. He understands that you can't do the same thing the same way and expect a different result. We need new ideas in American foreign policy and Obama would be willing to bring in people who have fresh ideas (i.e. Samantha Power).

6. Unlike Howard Dean, Obama is able to translate passion into action.

As I said at the beginning, this is not an anti-Hillary vote. If she is the nominee then I will vote for her. Until then however, I will continue to go with my hopes and dreams and campaign for Barack Obama.

Posted by: queen_raine | December 17, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Where was Obama and Clinton? Still checking to see if Biden made it.

Posted by: Eyzwidopn | December 17, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Where was Obama when Senator Dodd was demonstrating TRUE leadership today? Dodd, honoring his oath to protect the constitution was on the floor of the senate prepared to filibuster to protect the Fourth Amendment.

I like Obama, but he is on the record promising to supprt Dodd on the FISA issue. He ignored that promise and put campaigning in NH ahead of his oath. That can't be ignored.

Posted by: ries1999 | December 17, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting perspectives out there. I'm a volunteer for Obama up in the North Country of New Hampshire--I'm from the DC area, but I'm up here until the NH primary, donating a month of my life to this cause not because I hate Hillary (I don't), but because I believe in Obama.

That said, there are a lot of independent voters up here who don't care at all for Hillary but who are quite receptive to Senator Obama and his message. Maybe not what some people would expect in the lily-white North, but Obama's message really resonates up here and it transcends race. In terms of depth, I think that all of the candidates have a difficult time getting the nuances of their positions across in 30-second chunks--and kudos to the Clinton campaign (in a fashion)--for putting Obama on the defensive by claiming that Hillary has more experience. And in some ways, she arguably does. But Obama has very legitimate claims for leadership, and when it comes to legislative experience and building the sorts of civil (and bipartisan ) relationships that allow things to get done in this country, he's got Hillary Clinton beat by a mile. Hillary may have been in the US senate for a couple more years than Barack, but Obama was serving in the Illinois legislature long before Hillary was first elected--and that's not to mention his impressive resume as a grassroots community organizer in Chicago.

If anyone is still honestly in doubt as to the depth of Obama's understanding of the issues and is curious to know what he really believes are the problems and how he plans to go about addressing them, I invite them to check out his book, The Audacity of Hope. He doesn't claim to have all of the answers completely figured out, but any honest reader of that book would be hard-pressed to say that he doesn't have an extremely nuanced grasp of what the real issues and problems are--as well as some great perspectives on how we can make things better.

As to the accusation from 'ichief' about vulgarity, cheap shots, and lack of civility on the part of me and my fellow Obama supporters, I can say that the message that we're (consistently) getting from Obama HQ is to 'keep it positive'. I'm new around here, and I admit that I've on occasion voiced a couple of (what I thought were very legitimate) complaints about some of Obama's opponents. But whenever I've done so, my fellow Obama supporters have consistently taken me to task and reminded me: stay on message and keep it positive. That's honestly what the culture around here is like and what this campaign is trying to do, even when it looks like it might cost us the occasional vote. Why? In the long run the campaign believes that NH voters will notice who takes the high road and who doesn't. Barack's message is that this campaign is about far more than just hope--it's also about changing the political landscape in this country and bringing civility back to the process. Why? So that America can collectively pay more attention to the issues and build on what we all have in common rather than spending so much attention on the divides that separate us. Senator Obama believes it, and so do we, his loyal supporters.

Posted by: slowgenius | December 17, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I admire both Senators Edwards and Obama for they were able to clearly articulate their differences on philosophy and policy with Senator Clinton.
Senator Clinton's claim, of her experience does not mean much for her own experience is not much different than Obama's and she shouldn't count her husband's experience as her own.

Besides, this dirty tricks on Obama's religion is going to backfire on his rival.

Posted by: hsnkhwj | December 17, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Help me please. Why did the hedge fund pay Edwards $500,000 to work for one year? Edwards says he did it to learn about the industry. Why did they pay him? To buy influence in the event Edwards became president. Good investment? Trial lawyers have always given big to Edwards and continue to. Good investment. The hedge funds sees the same thing. Edwards a reformer?

Posted by: KevinNReynolds | December 17, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

If you're undecided, you'll probably want to view this discussion of Obama's policies. I think most people will agree that he's corrupt and not fit for any office:

Please go to his campaign appearances (now or perhaps next year), ask him real questions about his policies, and then upload his response to video sites.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | December 17, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat but I absolutely refuse to vote for Barack Obama until he develops a very strong stand against illegal immigration.

I don't think I am the only Democrat that feels that way.

On another forum we had a poll which simply asked: do you want Hillary as President?; she only received 28.14% of the votes.

Posted by: buzzm1 | December 17, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Front-page story is now an Obama fluff piece after being negative towards Hillary all day. Way to go on getting the balance right

Posted by: calprez | December 17, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

There is not going to be a "Bradley effect" this time. Those committed to Obama are serious and will not change their vote in the booth. This is not a "feel good" vote for a token black man. This is a vote for the future of this country and the world. Most Obama supporters do not even see him as black.

Posted by: zb95 | December 17, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Does bho actually think these FARMERS ARE STUPID????? They will not elect him and if for some reason he garners the nomination the farmers are acutely aware that the U.S. will have a republican leader in the oval office. The best GOP candidate is Ron Paul but it will probably be Mitt Romney.
Oh well....another four years of the same old stuff.
Vote for Joe Biden for President in 2008!!!

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 17, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I still remember voting of Mayor Tom Bradley in 1982. I went to bed because media assured me he will win. Next moring, it turns out George Deukmejian was elected as the thirty-fifth Governor of California. Voters are still the same in America. Nothing has changed since then when it comes to race-relations in America. Senator Obama has all that excitement plus whatever one may want to include from today-to-election day in Iowa. If you want tomorrow's news today, he will finish SECOND on election day. Oh yes, close second if that makes someone happy. Who will come in first - of course between Edwards and Clinton. Will that be a big surprise? Stay tune for media report for that!

Posted by: kat7 | December 17, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I really want to like Barak Obama more than I do. I have been listening closely to Sen. Obama's responses during the myriad Democratic debates, and I'm distressed by his tendency to provide vague responses that emphasize his "leadership" without providing much substance. In contrast, I find Sen. Clinton's answers to be thoughtful and substantive. (I especially like the way she charitably, but astutely, defused one of Scott Simon's questions by rightly classifying it as "clever" while explaining her immigration position in a cogent manner). I find that I like what Sen. Clinton stands for and how she explains herself. I certainly will support the Democratic nominee, but I'm struck by the fact that--unlike the other posters here--I'm just left flat by Sen. Obama.

Posted by: theo | December 17, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama is simply a class act - with more principle, decency, integrity and candor than any candidate for the Presidency we've seen in a long while. The reason why he's enjoying such a surge in support now - just as the voters in the early caucus/primary states are beginning to focus - is because his values and his style are such a breath of fresh air, compared to old-school "politics as usual". Voters are starting to take a close look - and they like what they see...

Posted by: mvkniat | December 17, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama's supporters demonstrate their candidate's superiority to Hillary Clinton by criticizing her laughter, attacking her integrity, etc. - anything to avoid comparing their actual work history, experience, and leadership skills. It's pathetic that they have to stoop so low, but they've taken that sleazey approach from day one. It's tough for them because Hillary Clinton is so obviously the best qualified candidate for president among both the Democrats and Republicans. I feel sorry for you Obama folks - when reality strikes, it's going to be pretty painful for you. And I don't think your vulgarity, cheap shots, and lack of civility are going to be any comfort to you then.

Posted by: ichief | December 17, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Robear, thanks for your comments. I like to know how things are going in Iowa for Senator Obama. I have been a big supporter since he ran for the Senate here in Illinois.
He displays the rare ability to work with all sides while keeping his ideas intact, to be an honorable man and shows such good judgment and leadership.

Posted by: vwcat | December 17, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Like robear -- I just got back from a big push of two days canvassing in Reno, Nevada area. Over 3000 households hit. There is a lot of excitement there about Obama. And, a lot of confusion as people still do not realize that Nevada was moved up in the calendar.

The most interesting thing is that in talking to people was the 'not Hillary' reaction I got and the number of people who said they were for Hill but are now sitting on the fence between Hill and Barack. Go Barack!

Posted by: sewardm | December 17, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama's legislative record has shown his commitment to containing the influence of big business, lobbyists and special interest groups on the legislative process. He is committed to the principled exercise of political power within the bounds of both the letter and spirit of the law. Senator Obama has my support, without a doubt.

Posted by: maq1 | December 17, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama is taking the high road in this campaign. The Clintons are taking the sleaze road. Shame on them. Are they so willing to completely trash Senator Obama to win this campaign? What they say is true, they will say and do anything to win. Senator Obama will come out on top and be the next POTUS.
Obama '08

Posted by: GraceMN | December 17, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama's legislative record has shown his commitment to containing the influence of big business, lobbyists and special interest groups on the legislative process. He is committed to the principled exercise of political power within the bounds of both the letter and spirit of the law. Senator Obama has my support, without a doubt.

Posted by: maq1 | December 17, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I got back from Iowa on Thursday; I worked for Obama for four days and was most impressed by the team he has drawn to him. They are excited and committed. All who have met Obama are impressed by his intelligence, good manners and kindness to his supporters and workers. It will be a tragedy if we don't give this excellent leader a chance. The best qualified candidate sense Ike, JFK and RFK. Go Barak.

Posted by: robear | December 17, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

At least we have a real campaign now, far from the INEVITABILITY and the laughs of Hillary. There is no more incumbent here. It's good that people realised that you don't need to plant questions to get elected. Go fight hard for it.

Posted by: christophefiero | December 17, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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