August 14th, 2008
07:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Election Express: The campaign trail runs back to Iowa

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" The CNN Election Express is heading across the country."] ABOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS IN ILLINOIS (CNN) - We’re heading west, making our way through what can safely be considered Obama Country.

The Democrat’s presumptive presidential nominee also has a day job, and that’s Senator from Illinois. Before that Barack Obama was a longtime state lawmaker here, and prior to that he was a community organizer in Chicago.

We’ve been driving through a number of crucial battleground states on our way from DC to Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention, but this isn’t one of them. Vice President Al Gore won Illinois by double digits in 2000, Senator John Kerry took the state by double digits four years ago, and Obama’s expected to easily win his home state this time around.

While there’s not that much electoral drama in Illinois, it’s a different story in the two states we just passed through. Indiana’s a traditional red state that Obama would like to turn blue. And Michigan’s a state that's gone for the Democrats in the past two presidential elections, but John McCain would like to turn it red.

“I appreciate the warm welcome to Indianapolis,” said John McCain on July 1, the last time he campaigned in Indiana. And if history’s any indicator, that’s what the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee should expect.

Indiana’s voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964. George W. Bush won the state and its 11 electoral votes by 21 points four years ago.

But Obama’s working hard to put Indiana in play. And he may get a helping hand from Evan Bayh. Indiana’s Democratic Senator is also the state’s former two term governor. Bayh considered his own run for the White House before supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) in the primaries. Now he’s firmly backing Obama and is considered to be on Obama’s short list as a candidate for running mate. The two men campaigned together in Indiana last week.

It’s a different story in Michigan.

“I’m confident I will carry the state of Michigan,” said the Senator from Arizona last month. And McCain’s working hard to make that happen. He campaigned in Michigan on Wednesday, and it’s a safe bet he’ll be back again and again between now and election day.

And Mitt Romney may help him.

The former Massachusetts Governor was McCain’s rival during the primaries, but now he’s a major backer, and considered to be on McCain’s short list as a candidate for running mate. Romney has roots in Michigan. He grew up there and his father was the state’s governor.

Michigan’s voted for the Democratic candidates in the past four presidential elections, but it’s been close recently. Four years ago Kerry narrowly won the state and its 17 electoral votes. This time around, Obama has a slight lead in the polls.

In each state we’ve passed through, we’ve stopped and listened to voters, to find out what’s on their minds. We’ll keep doing that on the road to Denver. So if you see us, please come out and say hello.

We’re headed west. Next stop, Iowa. Another battleground state.

In a way it’s like going home, since the CNN Election Express called Iowa home for the month of December and the first few days of January. The Iowa Caucuses seem like ancient history now, but the first contest in the primary calendar made Obama a winner, and by doing that Iowa voters changed the landscape of the race for the White House.

See you in Iowa.

Filed under: Election Express • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Michigan
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    Little surprise that CNN is proNOBAMA!! That has been apparent all along! Build up the little black man, make history. Bah, history, argh!

    August 14, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. PJ

    I was proud to support Obama in the Iowa Caucs as a precinct captian. It was one of the more exciting times of my life to be a part of such an event and organize 250 of my neighbors at my precinct caucus.

    I look forward to an Obama administration with 8 years of a stable foreign policy and progressive economic turnaround.

    Like his campaign as a whole, Obama has made this campaign about us, and not about him. I can say with pride that it all started in gymnasiums and libraries on a cold night in January in Iowa.

    August 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. DR. YES

    mccain is so adamant in defending georgia because his top foreign policy advisor,has earned over $800,000 from them since 2004.this advisor's business partner just recently received $200,000 to continue his efforts.we have to turn our back on them militarily,because our own military is a little tied up at the moment ,in iraq.there are a lot of anti-american 'folks' around the world because they see us as hypocrites for invading a sovereign nation,[iraq],the same as neocons accuse russia of doing now.i'm voting for obama because he will always bring the full force of our government together,including diplomacy and foreign aid to allies,as well as military,[after they are withdrawn from iraq and allowed to regroup].he will restore our moral standing in the world so we wont be this vulnerable ,again.experience not necessary if you have intelligence and leadership abilities,and are surrounded with intelligent people and real experts.

    August 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Tayo, NY

    Yes we Can

    Obama 08

    August 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. DAN

    Oh you also forgot to mention that Illinois is also the place where Obama helped slumlord Tony Rezko get millions of dollars for low incom housing which had to be closed because of the terrible condition they were in.

    Many of those buildings were in Obama's own district. One winter people froze for 6 weeks because Obama's friend Rezko said he didn't have the money for the heating but managed to send Obama one thousand dollars in the same time frame.

    People suffering in those buildings wrote letters to their senator(Obama) but were totally ignored.Obama simple response is I didn't know. Facts are facts and Obama only cares about himself, that is fact. Obama's work as a community organizer was a flop. Mabe that's why cnn has never shown one example of its accomplishment.

    August 14, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |

    Kshama – Caucus voting is the embodiment of democracy. It is the only forum, including in the general election where the electoral college has the final say; not the people, where a community gathers to discuss the issues of each candidate; where anyone and everyone can have a say and ultimately the majority rules. This process can be called time consuming, detailed, long and even tedious. But, the one thing it can never be called is "undemocratic". The process itself is the very process copied for the Native American Indians that lived here prior to Leaf Erickson's initial voyage to North America and subsequently Christopher Columbus. It is the sole and core of a democratic society.

    Consider this a crash course in the history of democracy.

    According to recent studies in another 2 decades America will be a majority non- Caucasian population. The election of Obama would not only be a reflection of our future but we may even begin to be at the head of the curve again as a nation and a people.

    August 14, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Former Democrat

    CNN has become pitiful !!!

    August 14, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Chris from NY

    I will join your express bus if it has Obama's interest at heart. But experience have thought me so far that you long stopped trying to be objective in reporting election news. You just want to force McCain down our throats.

    August 14, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Steven W

    America should get ready for Obama. He is indeed ready to lead us and the world in a better direction and future. It is very sad that the Mccain campaign has decided to be soo negitive. He is not fit to run our country. He is not able to see that the world sholud be going in a new direction.

    August 14, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. VGreen

    In my opinion, Russia picked the right time to attack Georgia and issue an ultimatum to the U.S., "us or Georgia". The United States is involved in two wars (one we never should have become involved in). The war in Iraq is draining our economy, our deficit is at a record high, and our credibility is at it's lowest point. Who at this point is listening to Bush? He has proven to be America's worse enemy. Our hands are tied, because of his cowboy tactics. What can we possibly do, but supply aid. Russia knows this. It was no mistake that Russia's decision to attack Georgia had a lot to do with a weakened United States stance. What can Bush do? Pull our troops out of Iraq (swallow your pride, Bush, and admit you made a decision that has cost the American people and weakened the United States position).

    August 14, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. Jan

    I don't want to "make history". I want a good President! Let's pray McCain wins in spite of Obama celebrity and MSM endorsements.

    August 14, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. ANGIE

    I hear collin powell may endorse obama you know what i say to that

    August 14, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. paul oregon

    mcbush, mchillary bubba and mccnn who?????????? cant wait for elections to get over. best news team or best tabloid team

    August 14, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Anonymous

    who cares
    Go Mccain

    August 14, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. with experience comes judgement

    McCain is so adament in defending Georgia because they are an ally. Would YOU suggest we turn our back on them? That's just what the anti-American folks around the world would like to see; the U.S.A. wimping out again. I suppose you'll be voting for Obama, the one who thinks diplomacy always works. Come on CNN; post this one.

    August 14, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Brian

    I think it's pretty clear that Iowa is moving back to the blue this year. We've come to terms with our mistake back in 2004 for supporting Governor Bush. Here in Cedar Rapids, you hardly see any signs of support for McCain anywhere. The past month I've heard nothing from McCain. All I've heard from McCain is Obama this, and Obama that. Next thing I know McCain is going to come to Cedar Rapids and talk about wanting to start drilling for oil in Iowa while we "bomb bomb bomb Iran"

    Brian – Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    August 14, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Rave

    My one question to all the Liberal Republicans of McCain : How the heck did he say, we are all Georgians? Does it mean that we are all Iraqis and Afghanis too, cause we are liberating them?
    NO THANKS !!... Let me be American.
    More wars = More business for people like McCain and Dick Cheney = More job losses + More Foreclosures. This is simple formulae for last 8 years and why would anyone in their right mind vote to ruin their country's future? This guy should go down big time and loose also in the so called red states.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 14, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. That's Reality

    To judgement over experience – Get a grip buddy; I didn't miss any of your comment but you missed some of mine. Diplomacy does not ALWAYS work. My point was/is a nation that turns it's back on an ally when they are under attack will be considered untrustworthy and wimpy, and we can't afford to be portrayed as weak. As for "mindless idiots out there who blindly follow the repug rhetoric " I could say the same thing about you. You believe the ones you choose to listen to and I believe the ones I choose to listen too. Contrary to what you stated, I am opposed to war and would love to have peace. The fact is we need to defend ourselves against terrorism and we've been successfully doing that since 9/11. If you think we will have peace with Obama as president you are in lala-land. Obama and his appeasement loving followers either don't understand the gravity of the situation OR are willing to bow to terrorist ideology; you need to realize what I stated is true; DIPLOMACY DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK. BTW, I am a 54 year old woman and I would be willing to go to the front lines to defend our freedom if I was allowed. I thank God there are people like McCain who are willing to fight when necessary even at the minor expense of wrongfully being called a "warmonger". He's tough enough to take a barage of untrue and meaningless words. We need a man for POTUS not a mouse.

    August 14, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    I think the Election Express should make a stop in the Quad Cities area on the Mississippi River, and do a week of segments for the Situation Room.

    August 14, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Carl from MI

    To RJ: I guess Judgment Over Experience's facts just slapped you in the face!!!

    Maybe you just didn't know that Georgia is the aggressor and started the whole thing?

    Maybe you just didn't know that McCain's advisor is a lobbyist for Georgia?

    Maybe you just didn't know the fact that our nation is currently in NO SHAPE to start a war with Russia, because the majority of our troops are all in IRAQ and we have no money for another war, stupid!! You can't just go to war with every nation that disagrees with you, like McLame Brain wants to.

    Thank God he will lose in a landslide this November!!!

    Hey do you ever use any facts to back up your statements, or are you just one of those people that can predict the future? You must have a special 'fifth-sense'!!

    August 14, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. TSAH

    You have FOX NEWS that is PRO McSAME!!! Why aren't they on a BUS going cross country??? You can call it the "O'SANNITY BUS" fueled by solar energy from FOX and FIENDS and a little air conditioning sponsored by "BRIT FUMES and his panel of ZOMBIES"... LOL

    And YES – history will be made when the "little Black Man" gets elected!!! OBAMA 2008-2016!!!

    August 14, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. Geri

    The CNN bus should be renamed the Obama express. They very rarely mention McCain and what makes them think that everyone still wants to vote for Obama just because he won the caucus. I live in Iowa and we can certainly use some help after all the floods. We have people without homes, Fema funds are slow coming in, and we listen to the candidates talk about the economy when they are pulling in tens of millions of dollars from people who can't afford it so they can run around and talk garbage. Lets get some honest facts on the issues and stop thinking that they can do it all. Obama is not the Messiah and we'll be in worse shape if he gets in because between him & Pelosi we won't have a chance. Are you going to print this CNN?? You haven't printed quite a few of mine.

    August 14, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. aliou FL

    I have posted this message on cnn many times but I never had it published. I am sure cnn will erase it or censor it as soon as it is posted. what a shame.

    Cnn keeps turning Obama's positives into negative: Cnn is like the wife, child or husband for whom you can never do enough, as far as Obama is concerned.

    -When Obama was shining in Europe, these people said he was too presidential, too presumptuous, and even too european. They keep asking guests and commentators if Obama is not taking a risk of appearing too... one thing or another.

    -When Obama is soaring in the polls and McCain is far behind, they complain that Obama should have been 20 points ahead. Then, -They continue -to ask guest and commentators what McCain should do to beat Obama. It is as if there is the McCain and the Media that Obama has to beat to win this election.

    -Another tactic is to suggest that this or that group wouldn't vote for obama , create a reason and find some more excuses for the bigotry of the clinton supporters.
    What a shame.

    CNN should invite more people who know what they are talking about when they are talking about Sen. Obama. I have the feeling that most CNN Guests and contributors as well as the types of reporters such as Loo Dobb, Wolf splitzer, Gloria Borgia, are not doing america a favor by helping mcCain out.

    I have been turning my tv out whenever I see one of them appear because they are totally biased. They keep turning Obama positives into negatives.

    August 14, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. PDM

    Vote for McCain? Sure, let's make sure our country keeps our military busy in war time 20/7 ALL the time, let the rich get richer, give amnesty to all illegals, get rid of our Social Security Administration, keep the poor on a welfare that doesn't even give them enough to eat nevertheless a place to I need to go on? It's up to you, but I'll stay with the Democrats-go Obama!

    August 14, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Jane Republican

    Why isn't any of the major news media making McCain explain his lobbyist .
    found out one of his main campaign advisors has taken over 200000 dollars from Georgia and is a heavy lobbyist for that country. Will mccain have us in a war with Russia? He keeps saying he would rather win a war than an election so what is up with all this. He is dangerous and does not have the judgement to lead. Mcain is very dangerous person.
    CNN why are you not saying about the lobbyist that McCain is paying for this .
    IF is OBAMA you will carry the news 5days is a roll. Common be fair.
    Mccain thinks he can win by paying the lobbyist for Georgia.
    Mccain again why did you leave your first wife you are a very wickend person.
    I'm a woman I will never vote for you. I will vote for OBAMA
    McCain always war war that's all he talks about because he wear shoes that does not cost less than $500. owns 7 or more houses. His wife is a million so he does not care about eco

    August 14, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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