Obama, Clinton Barnstorm Iowa

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Many voters in Iowa are still undecided, though Sen. Barack Obama's message of inclusiveness spoke to some Sunday. Obama was especially critical of Hillary Clinton, saying he would be more transparent than she and President Bill Clinton.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.

T minus 11 days and counting to the first contest of the 2008 elections: the Iowa caucuses. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are barnstorming across the state today. Clinton had her husband on her arm for church this morning. Obama is heading west across the state, making several stops, and NPR's Ina Jaffe has been with him and joins me now.

Ina, you are the Obama even this morning, what did he have to say?

INA JAFFE: Well, he talked to about 250 people in the town of Greenfield, west of Des Moines, and it was a standard stump speech in a lot of ways, really. He talked about everything you can think of, you know, free trade and agriculture - of course, this is Iowa - and the war in Iraq and education and health care. And nothing that he proposed would be anything that most Democrats would have any problem with, really.

It was the tone of it and the overall message of it. He talked about inclusiveness and giving more people a seat at the table and inviting people to participate more. And it was not just a matter of one vote can make a difference, so please caucus for me. It was one voice can make a difference, let's go out and change the world. That's pretty much of a direct quote. And it really seemed to move a lot of people that I spoke to, and I did speak to people who walked in undecided and left thinking they were going to caucus for Obama.

SEABROOK: Ina, when he talks about inclusiveness and openness, is Obama making a reference to Hillary Clinton and the way that she tried to push through health care reform when she was first lady?

JAFFE: And it wasn't a veiled reference, Andrea. He talked about the mistake the Clintons made when they were trying to push through health care reform during President Clinton's administration. And he said they did everything behind closed doors and everything was secretive and not enough people got to participate, and he said he would do it very much differently that everyone would have a seat at the table, and that was the only way that health care reform could really be accomplished.

SEABROOK: Turning your eye just for - very quickly, Ina, to Edwards. How is his anti-corporate rhetoric playing out among the voters there you're meeting in Iowa?

JAFFE: Well, it depends what their concerns are, I suppose. I talked to two voters this morning. And one had been a supporter of John Edwards last time around and was leaning towards supporting him this time around, and she changed her mind and she's supporting Barack Obama. She just likes the hopeful message better. She did think, when we talked, that John Edwards had become kind of strident, kind of angry and kind of divisive, and she just wasn't really comfortable with that.

On the other hand, I talked to another man who is sticking with John Edwards, specifically because of his stance against NAFTA and his stance on trade.

SEABROOK: Ina, do you have a sense of whether voters are still shopping around for a candidate now or are people feeling sort of decided at this point?

JAFFE: I certainly met some voters who were still shopping around. It's not that they haven't seen the merchandise yet, but they had not made up their minds. One man told me this morning, I'll probably make up my mind at the last minute. He was sort of going back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And there were people who just were there to check him out. They'd liked him but they weren't necessarily sure they were going to caucus for him.

SEABROOK: NPR's Ina Jaffe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Thanks, Ina.

JAFFE: You're welcome.

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