Presidential Candidates Ramp Up Efforts In Ames

This story was written by Ross Boettcher, Iowa State Daily
On Sunday, the same day The Des Moines Register published numbers showing that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., had taken the lead in the Democratic polls with 28 percent, the Illinois senator visited Iowa State to speak to supporters before the Jan. 3 caucuses.

"I thought he was really passionate today," said Brian Burmeister, graduate student in English. "I've seen him speak about half-a-dozen times and this was probably the most passionate he has ever been in terms of being forceful about his vision."

Obama took the stage Sunday with former ISU quarterback Bret Meyer, who introduced the presidential candidate as his selection for the upcoming 2008 election. Obama returned the favor with a favorable mention of Meyer's football numbers.

"I looked over his [Meyer's] stats, they were outstanding," Obama said. "I can tell this is going to be a young man that is successful during his career."

Obama moved on from his sentimental introduction to provide reasons why Iowans need to support the caucus process and his campaign alike.

"This is the first time the caucuses are going to take place while school is out of session. This means that we have to plan better logistically to make sure everyone is able to take part in the process," Obama said. "Don't let people tell you that you can't caucus. You're Iowa students, you can be Iowa caucus-goers."

With caucus attendance first on political to-do lists for the next month, Obama stressed the fact the 2008 election is one unlike past elections.

"We are at a definite moment in our history. We're at war and our planet is in peril," Obama said. "As Americans, we have never paid more for health care, education or gasoline, and it's becoming harder to save and harder to retire."

Despite his statements that hard times are upon us, Obama did have good news to deliver.

"Here's the good news: The name 'George W. Bush' won't be on the ballot," Obama said. "And the name of my cousin, Dick Cheney, won't be on the ballot. After all, everyone's got a black sheep in the family."

Obama went on to say voters have the opportunity to help clean up issues including education policy, foreign oil, foreign policy and the economy; all of which are issues he said "festered far before President George Bush took office."

A proposal was presented by Obama stating change is needed in the way his campaign approaches the upcoming election and in how politicians initiate change.

"If we're going to do something about the issues, we not only have to change our policies, but we need to change our politics," Obama said. "If we are going to win this election, we can't live in fear of losing."

Burmeister said the particular issues that appeal to him about Obama include global issues and corporate corruption in the White House.

"In terms of issues, he's very supportive of Darfur and the genocide area, that really appeals to me," Burmeister said. "Getting the money out of corporate hands and lobbyists is another huge issue for me."

Matthew Morain, graduate student in English, said when he has heard Obama speak, his message has always been consistent - and the inclusion of Meyer was a good way to draw local attention to his campaign.

"This is the third or fourth time I've heard him speak, and it was a lot of the same things that I've heard already," Morain said. "That's not a bad thing, because it's hard to come up with new material every time you speak. I thought having Bret Meyer come in as well kind of gave it that I-know-Iowa-State-better-than-you-think-I-do kind of feel."

One of Obama's final statements came with a precise initiative on his stance for the war in Iraq

"I'm running for president to restore what America stands for," Obama said. "I will end the war in Iraq and bring home all of our troops within 16 months."

© 2007 Iowa State Daily via U-WIRE