Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is back in Iowa with a more direct speech that seeks to strike a dividing line between himself and perceived front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Obama told a crowd in Waukee Tuesday afternoon that it’s time to turn the page on the kind of "insider" politics practiced by George Bush — and by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
"It’s going to take more than a change in parties or a change in the White House to truly turn this country around," Obama said. "George Bush and Dick Cheney may have turned divisive, special interest politics into an art form, but they didn’t invent it. It was there before they got to Washington and if you and I don’t stand up and challenge it, it will be there long after they leave."
Obama did not mention rival Hillary Clinton by name, but Obama did attack the perceived Democratic front-runner who has presented herself as the more experienced candidate and has dismissed Obama as "naive."
"There are those who tout their experience working in the system in Washington, but the problem is the system in Washington hasn’t been working for us very well and it hasn’t been working for us for a very long time," Obama said. "Think about it. We’ve been talking about the health care crisis in this country for decades, yet through Democratic and Republican administrations we’ve failed to act."
As you may recall, Hillary Clinton headed up the health care reform effort that failed during her husband’s time in the office.
"We need something fundamentally different. We need something new," Obama said. "We need to turn the page."
Obama said he considers politics "a mission," and he urged voters to "demand something better" from their candidates. "Too many in Washington see politics as a game and that’s why I believe this election cannot be about who can play the game better," Obama said. "It has to be about who can put an end to the game-playing."
Obama said "time served" in Washington doesn’t guarantee good judgement and he urged the crowd not to "tune out" his message. "There are a lot of people in this race for the presidency who’ve been in Washington longer than me. They’ve got more lobbyist pals and they go to the right dinner parties and they know how to talk the Washington talk," Obama said. "While I may not have the kind of experience Washington likes, I believe I have the kind of experience that America needs right now."
Mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Obama spoke to a crowd of about 400 who gathered in an un-airconditioned fire house in Waukee to hear him speak for just over half an hour. Obama is on a two-day campaign swing through western Iowa, with stops in Guthrie Center, Carroll and Harlan Tuesday night. He’ll be in Storm Lake and Spencer Wednesday afternoon.