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Race for Democratic nomination not over yet, Obama emphasizes

first_imgIt is not that the 200 or so people who turned out to see Obama on Friday morning were oblivious to such prognostications. As ardent political enthusiasts, many obsessively follow them. But the voters here have not necessarily become believers, particularly before they have their own chance to size up the competition when it comes to town. “The one thing about Iowa is that we always have the ability to bring a reality check to the country,” said Randall Rolph, 56, who came with his son to see Obama and plans to return Sunday when Clinton arrives for a campaign stop. Still, three months before the Iowa caucuses open the nominating contests on both sides of the ticket, a fresh sense of urgency is at hand for Obama as he tries to change the dynamic of the race. Clinton, who started the year perceived to be trailing Obama and former Sen. John Edwards in Iowa, has crept up in state polls. On a four-day tour through Iowa this week, Obama of Illinois continued to draw large crowds in city after city. He sharpened his message about his early opposition to the war, he devoted more time to voters’ questions, and he talked increasingly about the need for Democrats to choose a candidate who is honest, truthful and, ultimately, able to bring about change. With a newly crafted sales pitch, he acknowledged that he was “behind in the national polls,” and asked Iowans for their support. “If you’ve decided that you’re supporting me, don’t keep on waiting because it’s going to get chilly soon,” Obama said. “The fact is, all of you are going to decide who the next president of the United States is.” The Democratic presidential campaign, viewed in Iowa, is awash in uncertainties. Will Edwards, who started a 17-county bus tour on Friday, hold the supporters who propelled him to second place here in 2004? Will Obama turn his large crowds into real votes? Will Clinton’s national advantages assuage concern among some voters who worry how Republicans will go after her in a general election? Interviews with more than two dozen Democrats here this week suggest that the race remains remarkably unsettled, with voters voicing concern about Edwards’ viability, Obama’s experience and Clinton’s electability.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW HAMPTON, Iowa – A broad grin spread across Sen. Barack Obama’s face as he turned to walk away from a city park here on Friday after shaking the last hand and posing for a final photograph with a clutch of supporters. Given the political news of the week, at least back in Washington, why the smile? “It’s not over!” Obama said, pausing for a moment to answer an open-ended question about the state of the campaign. “Presumably if they thought the race was over, they wouldn’t be taking the time to come to a town-hall meeting to talk about the presidential race.” If the chase for the Democratic nomination appears to have reached a stage of inevitability, if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is becoming a runaway front-runner, as national polls might suggest and some of her rivals are beginning to fear, the word has not reached the voters here in Chickasaw County. last_img

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