DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden were in Des Moines Saturday talking about issues relating to the African American community, but a Republican was there too– long-shot candidate John Cox, a Chicago businessman.
At the dinner–hosted by a local nonpartisan political group of African American women–Sen. Clinton, D-New York, began by praising African American women in history.
"I think of Rosa Parks who wasn't going anywhere that day on the bus," the New York senator said. "She was willing to stand up for every American tired of giving up his or her seat, and because she did that the rest of us can stand a little more proudly."
Sen. Biden, D-Delaware, who told the group he's spent a majority of his life working in the black community, said he wants to fix a justice system that can be unfair to African Americans.
"A significant number of young black babies born in this country who are male," Biden said, "get put on that superhighway from the cradle to prison...with the prejudice and disadvantage that exists."
Rounding off the evening was Sen. Obama, D-Illinois, who compared his work as a community organizer in Chicago to the work of the group that hosted the event, Sisters on Target.
"We helped lift up poor neighborhoods that had been devastated by the closure of steel plants and by racial turnover in the community," the Illinois senator said. "We built a movement that brought about change. This is what Sisters on Target is all about...You've built a strong grassroots movement here in Iowa."
And in the midst of the three Democrats was Cox, whose speech wasn't met with nearly the applause that followed the others'. In fact, he heard boos after he told the crowd the United States "ought to be able to do something better than Bushes and Clintons" in the White House.
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch