Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama made stops throughout western Iowa this past weekend, answering questions at forums and attending church Sunday in Sioux City. Obama’s "town hall meeting" in Onawa on Saturday was broadcast on the Internet, with supporters listening in from homes in each of Iowa’s other 98 counties — and a total of about 5,000 locations nationwide, according to the candidate.
"This, I think, is the expression of what I hope this campaign ends up being about because I really believe…that change happens when millions of voices, like yours…come together and say that we want to create a better America," Obama said. Obama addressed a variety of questions during his western Iowa swing and at two stops the Illinois senator suggested it was time for President Bush to engage in discussions with the Iranians.
"As odious as the Iranian regime is and the Syrian regime is, we’ve got to have conversations with them the same way that Ronald Reagan had conversations with the Evil Empire, the communists in the Soviet Union," Obama said. "…If we say that we’re willing to talk and we are firm and forthright in terms of what we expect from them in terms of behavior, then that flushes them out."
Without a direct question on the subject, Obama also told the crowds he had voted against confirming Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for that job. There’s a furor right in Washington now over the way Gonzales handled the firing of U.S. Attorneys. "I had a sense that he was an attorney general who saw his job as being the president’s lawyer," Obama said. "…The attorney general’s supposed to be the people’s lawyer and keep the president in check…and that’s something Mr. Gonzales has not shown any inclination to do."
Another Democratic presidential candidate was in Iowa over the weekend. Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd made stops in eastern Iowa. New York Senator Hillary Clinton is due here this evening for campaign stops in southeast Iowa with former Governor Tom Vilsack.