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Clinton: "This is a Serious Election"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

ELKADER, IOWA -- Hillary Clinton brought her "Every County Counts" tour to Elkader, Iowa today just one block away from the field office of one of her opponents: Barack Obama. Clinton's message was simple: if Iowans want a proven and tested leader, she is their candidate.

Her event in Elkader was set in the old Opera House that used to attract singers and tourists as far back as the 1900s. Clinton visited Elkader back in 1993 as First Lady and she vowed to come back if she wins the presidency.

After the standard pleasantries of thanking her supporters and those joining her at the event, Clinton was back on message. The emphasis on day four of her five- day swing through Iowa was to make sure she could separate herself as the candidate with the most experience to take on the job as president on day one.

Clinton referred to the Des Moines Register endorsement she received last weekend, describing the interview process as a "tremendously serious, painstaking process." Clinton said after all the scrutiny from the newspaper's board they decided to endorse her because she is a "proven, tested leader who is ready to start making these changes on day one."

She appealed to the audience telling them that Iowans have a big responsibility in choosing the next president and they "will have to make the decisions among us."

Clinton spoke from the 'well' just below the stage. She continued to try to shatter the image that many voters have of her as being cold and calculating, telling the crowd, "Some people think I am maybe too serious a person. Well, that's not the way I am all the time. But I think this is a serious election."

And if she can't connect with voters, she may be in a more serious election than she thinks.