By THOMAS BEAUMONT
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made his first trip to Democrat-heavy Dubuque today, saying he would have U.S. troops out of Iraq in a year's time.
"It is time to end this war and bring our troops home," the Illinois senator told more than 1,000 at Loras College. "It is time to bring them home."
Obama was making his third visit to the leadoff caucus state since announcing his candidacy a month ago.
The trip, scheduled to include stops along Iowa's eastern edge, helped cap a busy week of campaigning by Democrats in the state, beginning with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and including former New York Sen. John Edwards and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden.
Obama's campaign distributed a pamphlet that highlighted Obama's 2002 speech objecting to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, five months before President Bush ordered the attack. In 2002, Obama was a state legislator who was preparing to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004.
Obama has emphasized his longstanding opposition to the war, while other candidates, including Edwards, have since expressed regret for voting for the Senate resolution that allowed Bush to use military force.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has steadfastly refused to call the vote a mistake, although she has said she would not have voted for the resolution in hindsight.
"We're in the midst of a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged," Obama said.
Obama has sponsored legislation that would require U.S. troops begin pulling out of Iraq May 1 and have all troops out by the end of March, 2008.
Obama's weekend schedule also included events in Clinton and Davenport today, with events scheduled for Muscatine and Burlington Sunday.
The forum in Loras' 80-year-old brick fieldhouse was similar to those he had held in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Des Moines last month, drawing a large, enthusiastic crowd.
However, the audience also included people from other states, including Obama's neighboring home state, and nearby Wisconsin.
The vast majority of Iowa counties along the Mississippi River have voted Democrat in the past two presidential elections.