December 24th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama and Edwards battle for populist mantle

Sen. Obama is running a new ad in Iowa.

(CNN) – Democrats Barack Obama and John Edwards are both making populist pitches in Iowa, with just over a week to go until the state’s presidential caucuses.

In ‘Enough’, a 30-second spot that debuted in the Hawkeye State this weekend, Barack Obama tells an Iowa crowd that “We gotta stop giving tax breaks to companies that are moving overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Iowa…Enough is enough.

“If the plant moves to China, and you’ve been working there for 20, 30 years and suddenly you have the rug pulled out from under ya…and you don’t have health care, and you don’t have a pension, you’re on your own,” says the Illinois senator.

The ad was unveiled the same weekend as John Edwards’ $25 billion job creation plan. It calls for increasing federal aid to help “hard-working families across America [who] are already struggling to make ends meet,” the former North Carolina senator said in a statement.

Obama and Edwards have sparred in recent weeks over who is best-equipped to take on corporate interests and fight for economic reform.

- CNN’s Emily Sherman

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • John Edwards • Political ads
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Anon. Independent NYC

    "These two better stop the sparring and the back and forth politics. It's gonna be really awkward when Obama asks Edwards to be his VP.
    At least they are staying on message and being on point..."
    Posted By DAMOO, Madison WI: December 24, 2007 4:20pm

    "That is what our next President and Vice President have to say. I don't really care which is but Obama/Edwards would be pretty cool!..." Posted By pam Eugene OR: December 24, 2007 4:25pm

    Sweet little peeps, hate to burst the bubbles BUT in order to be competitive Senator Obama would have to choose a member of STATUS QUO as a running mate like Biden or Robinson or some other OLD stodgy cogger LOL Not quite the Vision Image 😉 BUT Reality Check

    Since Edwards already lost the VP position w/Kerry '04 – doubt Senator Obama would consider it in '08.

    The other equally intriguing idea which has been making the blogs is an Independent Ticket of Bloomberg/Obama?!

    "Barack Obama is a fighter for people and a uniter of people." Is this an oxymoron? I can't ever tell...

    December 24, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Heathcliffe, New York City


    December 24, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Thomas, Washington, DC

    "from under ya"?

    with all do respect, I do not believe I have EVER seen a news network attempt to approximate a politicians dialect in their quotes. would they do this with jesse helms, or robert byrd, or edward kennedy?

    it reads like old antebellum novels trying to approximate slave dialect.

    December 24, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. no obama,la.

    just lose obama!

    December 24, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. ZX

    New Polls form ARG
    December 24, 2007 – Iowa Caucus Presidential Preferences

    Dec 20-23

    Clinton 34%

    Edwards 20%

    Obama 19%

    Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama among women 38% to 21%, which is unchanged from a week ago (Clinton 36%, Obama 23% among women). Obama has lost ground among men to John Edwards and Clinton. Among men, Clinton is at 28%, Edwards is at 27%, Obama is at 16%, and Joe Biden is at 11%. A week ago, Obama was at 27% among men, followed by 21% for Clinton and 19% for Edwards.

    December 24, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. ABDOULAYE, Harrisburg,PA

    Sen. Obama is a great man with wisdom! What I wanted to know from all the candiates is, Why is United States is one of the largest wealthy country how come we the people are suffering and struggle day by day and not getting nothing in return as far as giving tax break for middle income people?

    December 24, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. r.e. lowe allons, tn

    the american people dont care about there job there pension they like giving there tax dollars to corporate interests if they didn't they voted democrate in 2004 and we wouldn't had this mess.

    December 24, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Josh, FL

    I really have a hard time understanding how anyone can support Hillary Clinton! She is by far the most divisive, negative, and unexperienced candidate of both parties! Most people do not like her and her negatives continue to go up, not down. The Republicans would sure get a win with her as the nominee.

    I'm a democrat and I'd easily vote for Huckabee or McCain over Hillary!

    December 24, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. Frank

    These are all media hype. These polls are not reliable anymore. The candidates (especially those who thought they are invincible) are playing games with these news to sway the public. They will still release another voodoo poll result after christmas.

    December 24, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  10. Tom Z, Florida

    The best way we have to keep our companies from moving overseas is the FairTax. Check it out at

    December 24, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  11. Kevin, Landover, MD

    Obama can afford to go further after Iowa and Obama is leading in NH, SC. If Edwards wins Iowa that would be his only win. Democrats need Obama to win all the rest of the states and the General Election. Obama beats ALL republicans in the General election.

    December 24, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |

    May the globalists meet the same fate as Marie Antoinette,but not before they get to eat a cake made of money.

    December 24, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. Lee, NYC

    Obama the uniter, is not uniting anyone, certainly not his own party.
    His healthcare plan isn't up to par and he is critizings Edwards and Hillary,s plan. You don't have a real plan Barack, you just pretended you did because John Edwards first had a poposal first then Hillary Clinton, and their plans are similar. You are jealous and scared in Iowa. I understand Hillary has surged again in Iowa, if this is true and only a few days away from January 3, you are a lost little puppy, criticising the candidates that may be able to help this country change, and improve for the better of all. Stop fighting with
    John Edwards, you are wasting your time besides it's the holy days of Christmas and you should be more Christian like and loving at this time, take a day off and regroup, because you will not become the President even if you are nominated.

    December 24, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  14. sean metamora,IL

    we need to stop rewarding failure in this country. If you have to work to live alot more parasites would hold down jobs.

    December 24, 2007 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. Eric Latham, Monticello, KY

    bye-bye Obama!... what is that third place in the new poll?! HA! The Edwards campaign was right... Obama would fade. It will come down to Hillary and Edwards. Either one is much better than Obama.

    Clearly even Hillary is more populist than Obama, however her means to end are much weaker than Edwards... but at least her goals are in the right place, and she doesn't leave 15 million people uninsured.

    December 24, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  16. Ken, CA


    Go back to the mosque! We don't want muslim pretenders to the throne. If a man can stand up for a religion he practiced for 31 years and chooses to oblivate that with active connivance of liberal media, then he has no principles no matter the hype from the media. Most right thinking people have already evaluated Sen Obama and believes he is empty suit. If you run a campaign that is propelled by liberal media, bloggers and talk radio hosts (facilitated by David Gaffen and Oprah)you will definitely be a high flyer until the action. Look at what happened to Mondale, Dukakis, Bill bradley. I am a moderate democrat and totally disappointed with the carricature and false reporting engaged by the liberal media to foist a candidate on the silent majority. Thank God the primaries are already near so we can put to an end to this charade. This was exactly what they did in connecticut by hyping Ned Lamont and eventually got the stupid activists to vote him against Liebermann and what happened? Liebermann ran as an independent and won the senatorial election by over 60% vote with signficant number of democrats voting against their candidate. The role of media is to ensure even playing ground and not to be an extension of a particular candidate's campaign as the liberal media has become an extension of Obama's campaign, worst of MSNBC (Can anybody name one person there that has a sense of journalist professionalism at the moment). What some of you don't realize is that when floating and regurgitating negative stories about a particular candidate, the voters will eventually catch on and decide you are bias. Maybe that is catching on in Iowa and that is why you have so many liberal media and bloggers all over place now planting stories and distorting facts about Bill Clinton. It's a shame! big shame!
    Anyway, no matter the outcome, i am a true democrat and i will vote whoever the party nominates.

    December 25, 2007 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  17. xtina chicago IL

    I don't think a company owes a person a job, even if they've worked there for 20/30 yrs. The government can't control whether or not every person in America has job security and they can't and shouldn't force companies to provide job security. Many Fortune 500 companies (I work for such a company) do not have pensions but rather empower the employee to have financial smarts to purchase company stock or outside investments and most provide profit – sharing. Some have company match for money you invest. It's a 'do it yourself' pension and people should learn about it instead of relying on the federal gov't to run their financial futures.

    December 25, 2007 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  18. rdierker

    Is this the ad that Edwards lied about knowing about, or is that another one? Oh, Edwards didn't air that other one because Obama called him out on it. Oh, OK. Thanks Obama for keeping Edwards honest. Keep up the good work Barack!

    December 25, 2007 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  19. Mike, Westport CT

    A few of the reasons why I'm on track with Barack:

    He was against invading Iraq when that was an unpopular stance. I completely agreed with him.

    He has only had one wife, and his wife has only had one wife.

    If he is elected, our standing in the world will immediately rise. Many people who dislike us will take another look if we elect a person of color who does not have an English name.

    Once he is elected, he will be able to negotiate with other world leaders, as well as Republican congressmen, in a confident, but not bullying manner. I grew up in Iowa, and never knew anyone who wasn't white until I left the state. If Obama can connect with those farmpeople, he can deal with anyone.

    He also has integrity. I don't expect my president to have all the answers. I do expect him to be honest with his constituents.

    December 25, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. Adam Smith, somewhere in time

    To xtina in Chicago, Your statement about companies not owing people jobs shows the kind of mindset that free trade and globilization have produced.I beleive that yes they do owe him a job because he or she devoted 20 or 30 years gave that company something more valuable than the all mighty dollar.
    A society who has lost all compassion and sense of morality in its business dealing is not a civlized soceity. People who are basically thrown away after 20 or 30 years often develop serious health problems from the stress of starting over. Stress from changing jobs constantly will give Americans the poorist health in history. Business should have a social concious and so should its citizens.

    December 25, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. Jose Card - Independent

    Why hasn't any candidate from the Senate proposed new bills to stop this insane tax benefits paid by taxpayers as these taxpayers lose their jobs?

    What are they waiting for?
    China will never act like Warren Buffett.

    These tax benefits should be approved on case by case basis, not by blanket coverage of all third world countries.

    With the huge trade surplus, China still won't improve the living standards of the poor. Naturally, they don't want to lose the special third-world-country status. They are laughing all the way to the bank as our taxpayers indirectly pay for their accumulated wealth. No doubt they call us being naive or worse, stupid.

    December 25, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Anne -the Breadbasket of America - Peace & Harmony to All

    I admired Edwards for his sincerity and honesty when he ran in 2004 –And I pray for his dear wife and precious children– But with $400 haircuts, even if he can afford them – I have to wonder if he still remembers the wisdom of his roots??

    As to Senator Obama – I don't know what to think anymore. At first he was running as a man offering Change and promising to be a Uniter. Now it seems he has forgotten his vision and Oprah's hope of his "Being the ONE" and being able to "vote Dr. Martin Luther Kings Jr's DREAM into office" as the first black man in the Oval Office or even to bring peace and harmony to all God's children. Senator Obama promised to rise up and hold himself above the fray. Yet now he is attacking and squabbling with all the other candidates instead 🙁 regardless of supposedly who started it – like a bunch of spoiled grade school children – even Richardson has gotten into the act!!

    And I don't know why everyone is so upset that anyone mentioned his past drug use and Islamic background. It's not like it is a big secret, he wrote about it in his book "Dreams from My Father". To think that the GOP national political machine would hesitate to distort the facts and use the innuendo is very foolish. Better to address it now like Romney did (head on) – rather than having everyone remain confused about it.

    I have to admit that despite the criticism about Hillary – she has stood toe to toe with the worst of the GOP and is still standing. Even the likes of Karl Rove (who is in league with Senator Obama's "crazy Uncle Dick Cheney" LOL) was trying to give Barack "pointers on how to defeat Hillary"!! (You have to be suspect of his motives??)

    I wish Senator Obama would not have been swayed by all the media hype to run in '08. He started out as a decent young man on a noble path. Yet now I'm afraid he has stumbled along the way and forgotten his ideals as well...

    December 25, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Elaine, Milwaukee,

    Yes, we are bleeding jobs to China but it isn't unions, it's the uneven playing field of having companies forced to pick up the tab for health and disability insurance. In other countries, this is picked up by the state. Consider, every car made in America is at least $3,000 more that it would be made in Canada or overseas. So, do we drop health benefits or do we make them universal? Realize, what unions fight for is what every citizen ought to get – a living wage and some feeling of security.

    December 25, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Derek, Honolulu, HI

    These guys are bragging about who the biggest Socialist is??!! That's pretty messed up.

    December 25, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    "“If the plant moves to China, and you’ve been working there for 20, 30 years and suddenly you have the rug pulled out from under ya…and you don’t have health care, and you don’t have a pension, you’re on your own,” says the Illinois senator."

    Very few companies offer the traditional (defined benefit) pension, they are more common among civil service employees, like Sen Obama. Most offer (defined contribution) 401(k)'s, 403(b)'s and so on but are well under utilized. You can also start an IRA. I'm not totally suprised he does not know this as he never spent any meaningful time in the private sector managing or running anything. That however is no excuse for not knowing these facts. No company owes you a retirement unless you are in a defined benefit plan.

    "The ad was unveiled the same weekend as John Edwards’ $25 billion job creation plan. It calls for increasing federal aid to help “hard-working families across America [who] are already struggling to make ends meet,”"

    I need to find a parallel between "job creation" and "federal aid" to help make ends meet.

    No company "owes" you a job, not now, not ever. When I hire someone I select the best candidate for that position, let them know what benefits are available and expect them to work hard. I shutter to think what kind of person I would have to hire or retain and pay them because I "owe" them a job because they have been there for 20 plus years.

    Maintaning your job requires hard work and training to advance in your career field. I have paid for most of that training for my employees.

    December 25, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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