Democrat Barack Obama began his New Year with a rally in Des Moines, warning that the new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll which shows him with a slight lead will mean nothing if his supporters don’t show up at their precinct meetings Thursday night. "The polls look good, but understand this," Obama said, "the polls are not enough. The only thing that counts is whether or not you show up to caucus…Grab your friends and grab your neighbors and say, ‘It is time for us to deliver on change.’"
Obama began his candidacy back in February when the national polls showed Hillary Clinton to be the front-runner for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination. "Ten months later, Iowa, you have vindicated my faith in the American people; ten months later my bet has paid off," Obama said in Des Moines. "Ten months later we stand on the brink of doing something very, very special right here in Iowa."
The Register’s Iowa Poll showed Obama had the support of 32 percent of those surveyed, with Clinton at 25 percent and John Edwards at 24 percent. Clinton and Edwards began their New Year campaigning in Ames. While Obama’s voice cracked as he spoke ever louder to drive his points home, Clinton delivered her main closing argument to voters in calm, steady, measured tones.
"I’m asking you to look at the evidence and the record because we don’t have any margin for error or any time to waste," Clinton said. "We need a new beginning in America, and with you help, that’s exactly what I will do as your president."
John Edwards remained focused on his populist themes, repeating his pledge never to "take a dime" in campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists. "There’s a reason for that because I don’t believe you can take those people’s money and sit at a table and make a deal with them and that anything will change," Edwards said in Ames. "If that worked, we’d have universal health care today. If that worked, we’d be attacking global warming."
All three leading Democrats as well as Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson plan to campaign throughout the state through Caucus night.