Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says “it all starts in Iowa” and that’s why rival Hillary Clinton has launched a series of attacks on him. “Folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed, issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations,” Obama says.

A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released this weekend shows Obama holding a lead over Clinton. Last week in Iowa, Clinton said Obama’s health care reform proposal was flawed and on Sunday morning a Clinton aide called on Obama to shut down his “Hope Fund” — a political action committee which Obama has used to make donations to candidates around the country. “Everything that we have done is in exact accordance with the law and unless they can show that it hasn’t been, I’d suggested they focus on trying to get their supporters to Caucus in Iowa,” Obama says.

The Clinton campaign charges Obama is using donations from his “Hope Fund” to get Iowa and New Hampshire politicians to back his candidacy. According to Obama, some of his donations have gone to Democratic candidates who are backing Clinton. “I think what people need to focus on is that all these accusations that are starting to come out seem to correspond to shifts in political fortune,” Obama says.

Obama made his comments during a news conference in Des Moines on Sunday. Click on the audio link below to listen to the entire news conference. 

The mayor of Des Moines endorsed Obama this weekend. Mayor Frank Cownie won reelection with about 80 percent of the votes cast in this year’s Des Moines municipal election. Obama told reporters he had a “more modest target” for the 2008 Caucuses.

AUDIO: Obama news conf in DM (mp3 runs 14 min)