December 27th, 2007
12:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama makes his closing case in Iowa

ALT TEXT
(Photo credit: AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Before a wildly enthusiastic standing room only crowd in downtown Des Moines, Barack Obama delivered the closing argument of his Iowa campaign Thursday. He framed his campaign as the only one aspiring to the true possibility of a better America and he called on his audience to reject the anger and appeals to fear that he suggest are coming from both Sen Clinton and Sen John Edwards campaigns.

Challenging Sen. Clinton’s claim that her Washington experience makes her best positioned to enact reforms, Obama said “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.” Taking on her vote on the Iraq war, he charged, “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.” In another not-so-thinly veiled attack on Senator Clinton he denounced Democrats who engage in “the same politics of fear”, who “invokes 9/11 as a way to scare up votes.”

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer quickly reacted to the speech, saying, “Now is not the time for political attacks, it's time to pick a president who can give us a new beginning in a time of war and a troubled economy."

"There are big stakes in this election – Iowans are going to pick the candidate best able to make the change we need starting on day one and that candidate is Hillary Clinton," he added.

Turning to John Edwards’ message that the struggle against special interests requires head-on confrontation that only Edwards is willing to engage in, Obama offered this: “There are others in this race who sy that this kind of change sounds good but that I’m not angry or confrontational enough to get it done. Well let me tell you something, Iowa. I don’t need any lectures on how to bring abut change because I haven’t just talked about it on the campaign trail, I fought for change all my life."

The speech, which lasted about 25 minutes, was billed as the debut of a honed message that the Obama campaign hopes will deliver him this first-in-the nation state and give him the momentum to win in New Hampshire and beyond. The speech was filled with talk of hope and change – his theme throughout the campaign. At one point he insisted of Washington “we don’t need more heat, we need more light.” The speech was littered with references to cynics, and those engaged in a “divisive food fight” in Washington; He also thanked the crowd for letting him run what he insists is a positive campaign. “You have vindicated me Iowa,” he declared.

The boisterous audience made up largely of voters who are already committed to Obama, gave him rounds of rousing applause. Some of the loudest came when he insisted votes have a change 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.” He went on to insist he’s the most electable of the Democratic field.

He closed with an impassioned call to aspire to something better than the red-blue divide in politics. “This is the moment, this is our time, and if you will stand with me in seven days …we will change the course of history.”

– CNN's Jessica Yellin


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. dmw, roeland park,ks

    Talk is cheap. Obama is inexperienced and America is less intelligent than I even thought if we buy into this man who does not have any new ideas or specifics about what he will do as President other than to say lets change and hope for better things. To me this shows that he is naive and this is the real world.

    He speaks in generalities and as the law professor that he was in the past. America is basically an optimistic country, but it does no good when it can not be enacted. Obama is a talker and not a doer.

    I hope (good huh?) that America sends him back to the U.S. Senate and let him vote and take a stand on issues and work through what he really believes in, then come back and try again from President. Times are too serious for his rookie status and the impression that he is God come back to save us all.

    December 27, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Alicia

    Awesome. I would love to bring our country together. Too bad others are so invested in the divisive food fight in Washington. That’s why nothing gets done in Washington. I am so sick of winning at any cost. I am so sick of Democrats hating Republicans and vice versa. What’s wrong with working together? What I have learned in my short life is that Dems, Repubs and Indy's all want the same things we just go about it in different ways. I believe Obama is the person to show is how to get things done.

    December 27, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Ron

    I can't wait to hear it. Hopefully Ms. Yellin will fix the typo's. Sounds like Obama really does have the stuff to be president. He can strengthen the Democratic party like no other in this election. I'm with you Barack, let's change the course of history!

    December 27, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Tyler, Cincinnati, OH

    The boisterous audience made up largely of voters who are already committed to Obama, gave him rounds of rousing applause. Some of the loudest came when he insisted votes have a change 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.” He went on to insist he’s the most electable of the Democratic field.

    I want to believe in Obama. And I support him over the other candidates. But I want to hold him to this promise of a new majority. The people must be an example to the Do Nothings in Washington. We go to school and work with eachother every day, and we are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc., and we get along find to make this nation work. If we can put our differences aside in the schoolhouse and the workplace, why can't the blowhards in D.C. do the same?

    I'm an Independent Moderate and I weigh the pros and cons of both parties' candidates. I admire Obama and Edwards, as much as I admire McCain and Chuck Hagel (If Hagel was running for the Presidency, Obama would be in a fight for my vote).

    If the people start to stray away from the partisan party lines, our reprensentatives might also.

    Go Obama08

    December 27, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Amanda, Clinton, MD

    I am concerned with Obama's allegiance to the "Black Value System" followed in his Trinity Gospel Church. He doesn't appear racist, but why support a religion that excludes other races in 2007.

    Obama would make an excellent VP. With that experience he could be an excellent president in 2016.

    December 27, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Jamie, Houston, TX

    I truly hope the people of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada get it right. Democrats cannot afford to lose this election.

    Barack Obama simply is not ready to be President. I think he has a wonderful message but hopes and dreams just isn’t gonna run this country. If he gets the nomination, you can believe the Republicans will have a field day. There’s so much that is unknown about him. There’s so much that left’s to uncover. If you think this race is ugly now, wait until the Republicans get a hold of this man.

    Think about what little is known about him. He refused to take a stand on major issues. He misses important votes in the Senate. When he was a state senator, he voted present instead of making his stand on the issues known. And when he did declare a position, he’s changed it so much he might as well be the Democratic Mitt Romney.

    How is he gonna go about making his changes. Relying on advisors, having a global picnic, refusing to take a stand on issues. All promises, little substance.

    What happens when the media hype subsides and the voters want to know about the issues this country is facing, he isn’t ready for that. He’s riding a wave of popularity now, but that quickly changes. And he has no experience to fall back on. You can only feed people on hopes and dreams for so long.

    My support lies with Hillary Clinton. She’s a true leader and a true visionary ready to tackle the problems we are facing. I just hope when people go vote they realize what happens January 2009 when all the media has packed up, all the parties stop, and the next President is sitting in that office with the Iraq war, the shattered US image across the globe, this dwindling economy, and all the others problems ahead.

    December 27, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Jarod, Raleigh, NC

    Best of luck to you Obama in the primaries. Although I don't share your political ideologies and will be voting for Romney or McCain I wish you the best. Also, I don't know if you will ever read this, but I find it repugnant that there are those out there that slur your name and do so for political gain. I know even Romney has done it, but I believe it was an honest mistake. Can't say the same about people in the Hillary camp, but that's another story. Best of luck.

    December 27, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. L.Guerrier

    By choosing Obama, America will show a new vision, a new stat with a new generation in Washington. I trully believe that change is really possible with
    Obama. With Obama, the world will see the diversity in america and America
    will show that White, Black, Hispanish so nad so have the same right to be
    AMERICAN. Obama is the one for the right time, the right moment. Make it
    possible, make the right choose, the right decision;Obama 2008.

    December 27, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. BCNU purple state, usa

    Clinton spokesman Phil Singer quickly reacted to the speech, saying, “Now is not the time for political attacks, ...

    Yeah right Phil, was last week the time? I guess you need a broad base of 'experience' to make that discernment.

    December 27, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Brennan in VT

    Obama is clearly the most electable Democrat in the field. I sincerely hope that those voting in the Iowa and New Hampshire consider which Dem. will have the best chance of winning in 2008. That person is Barack Obama.

    December 27, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Marque

    Great closing argument. Barack Obama has inspire us to a greater level of thinking...to change the broken system in Washington. I wonder how this nomination process would have been without Obama's candidacy. I believe Obama will make a good president.

    December 27, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. shir

    THE OPRAHBAMA SHOW HAS OFFICALLY CLOSED...GREAT!

    TOTALLY AGREE!!!! Obama needs to stop his negaitive campagining, we are tired of his no substance or experience. It certinally is not the time for political attacks, we are picking the next President, the one who can give us a new beginning in a time of war and a troubled economy, as an Iowan we are going to pick the candidate best able to make the change we need starting on day one and that candidate is Hillary Clinton!

    December 27, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Mark, California

    sounds like a great speech. Well done Senator Obama!!

    Obama 08'

    December 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Barry DeRoze

    Dear Senator Obama,

    I could not agree more with you. We are in a position to "be all we can be" as a nation, and you are the right person to lead this transformation! Go, Barack!!!!!!!

    Sincerely,
    Barry DeRoze

    December 27, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. JOHN SMITH,GA

    Barack Obama showed once again that he is not ready to lead this country.He needs to tell us why should he be our President instead to lunch some silly attacks. But I understand why. As people get to know him, they quick realized that the man is not ready to the challenge the country is faced. I bet that HRC and Edwards will best him in IOWA.

    December 27, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. L.Guerrier

    By choosing Obama, America will show a new vision, a new stat with a new
    generation in Washinghton. I trully believe that change is really possible with
    Obama. With Obama, the world will see the diversity in America and America
    will show that White, Black, Hispanish so and so have the same right to be
    American. Obama is the one fot the right time, the right moment. Make it
    possible, make the choose, make the right decision. Obama 2008.

    December 27, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    Obama has been consistently consistent with his message of change and hope. Clinton has constantly changed her message from having Washington experience to wanting to change Washington. Edwards wants to take on special interest groups without bringing them to the table (irony).

    Question: Whose message is most clear? Answer: Obama

    December 27, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. J Williamson Buffalo, NY

    Obama should have rolled out Oprah in these last days before the voting begins – I think a tactical error was made by his camp. He could, I think, have ridden that excitement to victory. It's my gut feeling that he has already peaked and has come down some since – people were given too long for a second look. We'll see, this is what makes elections interesting. Don't count out Edwards! My prediction for Iowa: Clinton (first), Edwards (close second) and Obama (respectable third).

    December 27, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Ryan, New Jersey

    Is there video of this speech?

    December 27, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Seam, Philly PA

    He's the man! Don't hate the player, hate the game.

    December 27, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Karsen Rumpf, Iowa City, IA

    I want a video too!

    December 27, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Mark Hamilton Iowa

    Huffington Post, 12/27/07-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

    December 27, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Wayne, Silver Spring, MD

    Why are you braying this post? This should be on the top as it is the most recent and important!

    December 27, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. CelinaB, Norcross, GA

    GO OBAMA the United States await new leadership, based on sound judgment, integrity, forthrightness and pragmatism- the course of your life.
    Obama will win the Red States with everyones aspirations, while others are aiming to defeat the red or blue states with fear

    OBAMA 08

    December 27, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    Sen. Obama believes that there were never better days for America, Sen. Obama believe that everything in the world has been so wrong for so long and he is he only person that can affect that change. this is the call of a person that is either naive or completely consume in his own ego. for all accounts the days of the Clinto's in office brought progress to the lives of all Americans, the work that began during that time is work that ALL democrats on the field identified with. Now all of the sudden Sen. obama believes that work was not any good? that work as not real change? who is he kiddin? This country deserves better that just empty rethoric. he is a very likeable candidate but his approach of "I'm the only one that can change the course of history" is not one that settles well with me. At least Sen. Clinton offers real solutions, things that will have a chance to be passed by congress in any case. that is his message. I don't want to discourage anyone from voting for him if you truly believe in him. I do hope that we all have a chance to listen and vote!

    December 27, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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