John Kerry wants change, and he thinks it will come with Barack Obama.
After a 45-minute delay, Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., was greeted with a standing ovation by a standing-room only crowd of Iowa State University students and Ames community members in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union on Wednesday.
The best news I can bring you today ... as of today, 20 days from now, we make Barack Obama president of the United States. What that means is that also 96 days from now, George Bush leaves Washington, Kerry said, with a loud response from the crowd.
Kerry was present at Iowa State to speak on behalf of Sen. Obama, D-Ill., and to emphasize the importance of voting early, especially in Iowa.
He gave four reasons for voting early: There will be time to re-count votes if it comes down to it, voters can choose their own schedules and Obama can avoid losing votes because people wont have to wait in long lines. The final reason Kerry gave was that voters will be able to work at the polls on election day to help elect Obama.
He said Iowa is important because it is a swing state in every election, and this year Iowa doesnt want to swing Republican.
What Im asking you to do in these next 20 days is not all wake up and find that Iowa was a difference of a few thousand votes in the wrong direction ... the stakes are too big, he said.
Kerry said he can feel earnestness with which people in the state of Iowa feel and believe about things in this country, like how to treat people and what is and isnt fair, but, he said, those ways of thinking are not present in Washington.
You look at what these guys have been doing in Washington and its just shocking, he said. We have to end forever this period where people in public life think their role is to feed the barons of Wall Street and take from the middle class and destroy all notions of fairness in America. I want a president who understands how to put that together.
He went on to say that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., hasnt mentioned the words middle class in the past two presidential debates. He said McCain recently put out a plan that helped some senior citizens, but has done nothing to put out jobs for Americans.
Kerry emphasized the importance of energy independence for Americans, especially those in Iowa, because of the opportunity to create new jobs, as well as the existing work with ethanol and wind farms.
How much better would it be, ladies and gentlemen, if instead of sending a billion dollars to the Mideast every single day, we send a billion dollars to the Midwest for energy independence and the creation of jobs, Kerry said.
He gave evidence of the rate of increase of species extinction, global warming and rising sea levels, among other environmental problems Americans face today. He pointed out that the current administration ignored scientific reports from the Environmental Protection Agency, which highlighted these warnings. He said with Obama as president those warnings will not be ignored, but rather be put into a plan of action.
I want a president, and so do you and we deserve one who believes in science, Kerry said.
He said McCains health care plan would tax benefits and return those benefits in a tax credit, but that tax credit would not be enough for Americans to pay for health care and millions would lose their health care.
Just wanting to do that is the wrong judgment for the president of the United Sates, who ought to be trying to get those 50 million who dont have health insurance into the system, helping to share the risk and paying for the cost of health care in America, Kerry said. Thats what Barack Obama wants t do, make sure that health care is accessible and affordable to every single American.
He said it is important for Democrats to be voted in at all levels of government so decisions like McCains could not be made.
Thats why Im here, he said. Because in these 20 days youve got an opportunity, each and every one of you, to make much more difference than you think.
Kerry said voters need to support Obama to break out of the old politics and create a movement of change and accountability.
Thats what this is all about. he said. You can make it happen with Barack Obama, and then no excuses for us. We gotta put this stuff on the agenda and get the job done in the name and interest of the United States of America, and all of you.