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With a Smaller Crowd, Obama Takes a More Populist Tone

Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama holds and event at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa. (Linda Davidson / The Washington Post)

By Anne E. Kornblut
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- As the convention gets closer, Sen. Barack Obama's crowds are getting smaller -- by design.

Just 250 people were invited to his town hall-style meeting here today at an outdoor fairground (making it feel more like, say, a rally for Sen. Joe Biden a year ago than the Obama campaign of today). Members of Obama's field staff reached out to Republicans and undecided voters on their lists in order to draw a meaningful cross-section, rather than the cheerleading swarm that will greet the nominee when he gets to Denver.

Obama is also on a regular-guy roll. He mused at length about what it is like to travel by plane commercially these days -- going through security, suffering delays, circling overhead in a holding pattern -- and advocated a light rail line between Chicago and St. Louis in a response to a question about the country's infrastructure. He talked about the debt he and his wife, Michelle, went into to pay for school. And he continued his populist tone, one that sounded remarkably like the one Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton adopted at the end of her bid.

"I won't be a perfect president, but I can promise you this ... you will have someone fighting for you in the White House the day I set foot in it," he said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 25, 2008; 3:56 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Battlegrounds , Democratic Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Van Hollen: Obama Campaign Needs "Second Wave"
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"Obama is also on a regular-guy roll.
And he continued his populist tone, one that sounded remarkably like the one Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton adopted at the end of her bid."

Is there no way someone at the Post can get Anne Kornblut to at least pretend to be a professional journalist?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"Obama is also on a regular-guy roll.
And he continued his populist tone, one that sounded remarkably like the one Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton adopted at the end of her bid."

Is there no way someone at the Post can get Anne Kornblut to at least pretend to be a professional journalist?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The most pathetic thing about this whole election is that voters still believe Barack Obama is the more elitist candidate. That's just sad, and proves the typical American voter is still uniformed, dumb or both.

Posted by: Jack44 | August 26, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Man, the times we live in. Our new black Democratic nominee is not really black. He and his wife didn't grow up in the deep south terrorized by the KKK, but lived comfortable lives and attended ivy league schools. The Gen X generation isn't marching on Washington in order to stop an illegitimate war, they are playing violent video games in their parent's basement; or fighting to lower the drinking age to end binge drinking. Our Olympic athletes are tatted up (the women) and are either dropping batons or dropping their shorts to just above their crotch. No fists held up in black power salutes, only arms flexed in triumph - awaiting the cash that corporate America will throw their way when they return.

Posted by: David | August 25, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Tip to Obama:
Nothing like a slight Indian accent to put the Democratic crowd screaming crazy.

Posted by: pete | August 25, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

It's not 'progressive' to put a Comunist in the White House, it's treason.
85,000 Americans died fighting Communism.

Is It Time To Elect A President Who Appreciates Communism?

Is It Time To Elect A President Who Appreciates Communism?
Barack Obama's Mother
I thought you might find the following article from interesting:

How 'bout them apples

Posted by: Like Apples ? | August 25, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!! Pelosi Tells Disappointed Clinton Supporters to Avoid 'Victim Politics'

Isn't 'Victim Politics' what the entire Democratic Party is built upon?!

Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry we failed you, Hillary. We should had worked harder - we should had worked smarter. Now we must accept Obama (the modern JFK) as our Commander-In-Chief, tutored by Biden (our new Dick Cheney) ... then again, perhaps not ...

Posted by: Louie | August 25, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

You know who is a great speaker - Joel Osteen. The guy is awesome. When I listen to him, it's as if he's speaking directly to me. Tony Robbins is also very good. He's tall and very energetic. Mario Cuomo is fantastic, too.

But ... I probably wouldn't vote for them as POTUS. I'd like someone with a firm grasp of the history of the USA and it's potential. He/she would have to have a proven track record of putting Nation ahead of Party. He/she would also need to have a record of getting things done - things that help Joe Middle Class, who is too rich for welfare and too poor for the country club. Someone who served in the military would be moved to the front of the line. Know anyone like this?

Posted by: David | August 25, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The Olympics was only the latest evidence that America is not as strong as she used to be. A communist country effectively used their rising middle-class to put on the greatest show ever AND win the most gold medals. There were just too few Moms's and Dad's like Michael Phelp's or Shawn Johnson's who's sacrifice was enough to propel their kids to the top. The rest were too distracted by mortgage failures, medical expenses, gas prices and educational budget-cuts, all problems that grew during two+ decades of rising corporate tax cuts and profits.

This election is possibly the last chance to save the working middle-class and everything it does for this country. It is unbelievable that many voters are still voting based on identity politics..."my vote will only go to a woman" or "war vet" or "someone I could have a beer with" They deserve what they get.

Posted by: Young Atheart | August 25, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

John McBush owns at least seven times as many houses as Barack Obama. He's had twice as many marriages and is 50% older than his opponent. Surely his convention bounce will be at least double Obama's, no?

So let's set down a benchmark of our own for him:

If John McBush fails to see a 30-point spike coming out of the Republican convention, then we can be sure his candidacy is an utter failure.¤t=McPennybags-1.jpg

Posted by: InsultComicDog | August 25, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a good speaker and is a symbol of hope and change. We need a president like him. we need him for President. Obama 08! Visit WHYOBAMA08.ORG!

Posted by: G Green | August 25, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Let's create a 21st Century Roosavelt-styled New Deal. It's a perfect point in US U.S. History to do so.

Posted by: pekopper | August 25, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Fake JakeD at 4:46 is so, how do we say it, "happy" when "happy" meant something else but with today's definition.

"Oooh keep it up, I get paid for every post I post . . . oooh, look at me I am so kewl that I can post all day on the WaPo and get paid."


Keep it up fake JakeD.

Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Keep it up, fake JakeD. I get paid for every such post, whether I type it or you do ; )

Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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In the WaPo, po, po, po


Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

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But I aint selling ma soul.


Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse


Barack Obama must get a six-hundred and thirty-eight point bounce.

Barack Obama must be inspiring, but not TOO INSPIRING SO AS TO SEEM A PROPHET, and present his ideas clearly, but not TOO CLEARLY SO AS TO SEEM SIMPLISTIC, and with specifics, but not TOO MANY SPECIFICS SO AS TO SEEM WONKY, and be tough, but not TOO TOUGH SO AS TO SEEM TO HAVE GONE NEGATIVE.

Barack Obama must walk on water (but not in such a way that suggests that either he or his supporters see him as a deity) and give a speech in front of 70,000 people (but not in a way that suggests that he's a celebrity) and completely unify the party (but not in such a way that suggests that said party is "liberal") and speak to the base (but not so much that suggests he's "out of the mainstream of America" ) and embrace Democratic ideals (but not so much as to suggest he's "going back to the days of Jimmy Carter") and remind America about all the good that happened under the last Democratic administration (without using the words "Bill" or "Clinton" or "Hope" or "Cigar" or "Blue Dress").

Barack Obama must be able to quote all the lyrics from American Pie and solve the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle in less that seven minutes and win American Idol and juggle a half dozen flaming chain-saws and name the capitols of all forty-nine states (Hawaii being recently deemed Unamerican and sold to the Chinese for a bag of gumballs) and eat poorly prepared Fugu without dying.

Barack Obama must be black, but not too black, and not black while trying to seem white, and certainly not black while trying to be white without trying to LOOK LIKE he's trying to look greyish-blue.*

(*Ronald Reagan, with a deep, rich, Coppertone tan is the preferred outcome.)

Barack Obama must convince Joe Biden to wear a blonde wig and a pants suit.

Barack Obama must council his wife to appear strong, but not uppity, smart, but not elitist, sure of herself, yet still subservient and willing to bake a pie and stitch the hem of a skirt. Barack Obama must also convince Michelle to leave her machine-gun, eye-patch and twelve-inch afro back at the hotel.

Barack Obama must survive SIX years as a POW at the hands of the Marine from The Village People.

Barack Obama must inspire Tinky Winky to have a heterosexual threesome with La-La and Dipsy. Same with Dumbledore. Same also with Senator Larry Craig.

Barack Obama must wrestle a live Puma and win over the "sheet-wearing, still-naming-their-sons Adolph" demographic and bowl a three hundred game and prove without a shadow of a doubt that he doesn't want to have sex with someone's white sister and create a car that can drive a hundred miles using only the flesh of a single terrorist and bleed red, white and blue when stuck in the eye with a flag pin.

Barack Obama must ride a camel through the eye of a needle.

John McCain... needs to live through his next speech.

Posted by: Johnny Rotten | August 25, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse


This thread is about Obama (and Biden), not McCain. There's another thread about Cindy McCain jetting to Georgia.

Does anyone else remember this:

Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

John McCain is soaring to new heights of hypocrisy on his wife's personal jet. He flies around the country bent on duping the public into believing he's "one of them," a regular guy who can empathize with Americans facing an overwhelming economic crush. What's more, he disparages those who oppose his ridiculous policy proposals as "elitist." But who's the real elitist?

The REAL McCain is a multimillionaire who owns ten luxurious homes. The REAL McCain backs President Bush's tax cuts for big corporations. The REAL McCain empathizes only with the interests of our nation's wealthy minority, not its money-strapped majority. But far too many are buying into McCain's deceit because the corporate press won't present the whole picture.

Posted by: ZappoDave | August 25, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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