Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Obama’s Iowa News Conference"

NY Times:
PELLA, Iowa – Senator Barack Obama held a press conference here this afternoon, in the backyard of a home bedecked with American flags and patriotic bunting, and for 16 minutes he managed to almost entirely avoid the “C” word.

That, of course, is Clinton.
Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton are both spending Independence Day in Iowa, but their respective campaign trails never came within about a two-hour drive of one another. With more attention being shined upon Mrs. Clinton, and her traveling companion, former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Obama held a news conference to attract network television cameras to his stop here.

Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of the questions carried a Clintonian theme, beginning with one reporter asking Mr. Obama what would be wrong with returning to the policies of the 1990s.

“My campaign is not premised on running against the past, my campaign is based on what we can accomplish in the future,” Mr. Obama said. “I do think we have not had – in a long time – a sense of common purpose where we have a working majority where we can move ahead on the issues.”

Before concluding, he added: “We are striking a chord and I think people have confidence that maybe we can bridge some of those divides in this country. That’s what it’s going to take to bring about significant, real change. Change can’t just be a slogan. Change has to be something that is demonstrated day-to-day on an on-going basis.”

Then, he was asked to assess why he believes national polls show that Clinton is faring better across the country and whether he had any thoughts of the impact of Mr. Clinton’s debut on the campaign trail, six months before the road to the White House opens here.

“I’m sure that Bill Clinton is going to be campaigning for his wife and there is nothing wrong with that,” Mr. Obama said. “The notion that they are opening up this wide lead across the country , I think, is just sort of the ups and downs of national polling at this point.”

When a reporter noted that several surveys have suggested the Clinton campaign has a double-digit lead over Mr. Obama, at least in some national polls, he demurred. And he reminded folks that he has a numerical bragging points, too: raising $31 million for the primary race, about $10 million more than the Clinton campaign raised in the last 90 days.

“What I am pretty confident,” Mr. Obama, “is that we are going to have both the resources and the grassroots base that’s going to allow us to compete fiercely and aggressively all the way through.”



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