Des Moines Register: Obama sticks to stance on war, environment
By Jason Clayworth
Barack Obama in Indianola Thursday night reiterated his stand on two controversies he took on earlier this week: war and the environment.
Most notably, he continued to urge all Americans to take action to end the war in Iraq by contacting their U.S. congressional elected officials.
That message came under fire this week after Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said Obama's call for citizens to contact their elected officials in Washington, D.C., about the issue was "not senatorial."
"I believe that all of us have to take responsibility to make sure that we change hearts and minds," Obama said Thursday to a crowd of about 200 people. Later he added: "When I become president I will bring this war to a close, but I don't want to wait another year and a half to do it."
Thursday's renewed request was similar to statements the Illinois senator made Sunday in Waterloo.
Democrats need at least 16 more votes to override the president's veto on a proposal that called for troops to withdraw from Iraq.
Obama on Sunday did not mention names but alluded to Grassley, who did not support the Democratic proposal vetoed by the president that would have withdrawn troops from Iraq.
Grassley shot back at Obama's statements on Tuesday: "...if you can't be senatorial, how can you be presidential?"
Indianola resident Curt Sorteberg attended Thursday's event and said he appreciated Obama's focus on the war.
"The war thing to me is interfering with all the other options we have. I really feel he's been solid on the war and consistent," Sorteberg said.
Obama has also taken other criticism this week.
Earlier in the week, Obama made a speech in Detroit that called for automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars. His speech, at times, received lukewarm response, according to media accounts from Detroit.
An editorial in the Detroit News said: "Sen. Obama embarrassed himself in Detroit with his lack of understanding of the problems facing the automobile industry..."
But Obama stood firm Thursday on his prior comments about the environment, saying it must be one of the top priorities for the next president.
"When JFK made a speech about us going to the moon, none of the engineers knew how to do it...But we set a bold and clear goal and it was accomplished," Obama said.
Some polls taken just before this week showed that Obama scored highly with voters.
A Newsweek Poll released Saturday, for example, shows Obama was the Democrat who fared best among lead Republican candidates.
That poll, by the Princeton Survey Research Associations International, showed Obama would win against Republican front runner Rudolph Giuliani, 50 percent to 43 percent.
Simpson student Kahara Hunafa said Obama's stands on tough issues help make him a good leader.
"I think that he would be a very, very good president," Hunafa said. "I think he would make a lot of changes that need to be made."