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AP - Obama Casts Voters As Agents of Change

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AP - Obama Casts Voters As Agents of Change

JIM KUHNHENN

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrat Barack Obama has a new ad in Iowa that seeks to distinguish him from his rivals on curbing lobbyists, improving health care and ending the war in Iraq while casting voters as the agents of change. The one-minute ad begins airing Wednesday.

"I approve this message to ask you to believe - not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington," the presidential candidate says as the camera closes in on him. "I'm asking you to believe in yours."

By suggesting that the power of change rests with voters, the ad offers a subtle shift on the ongoing debate within the Democratic field over which candidate best represents a shift in direction.

In the ad, Obama makes his pitch to reduce the influence of special interests.

"Every time I speak about my hope for America, the cynics in Washington roll their eyes," he says. "You see, they don't believe we can actually change politics and bring an end to decades of division and deadlock. They don't believe we can limit the power of lobbyists who block our progress, or that we can trust the American people with the truth."

He also promotes his state legislative work on health care. Backup materials provided by the campaign mention his work as an Illinois state senator on a health care access plan for state residents as well as legislation that imposed nurse staffing requirements in hospitals.

"I've taken on the drug and insurance companies and won," he says in an implicit dig at rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose efforts to overhaul health care in 1993-94 collapsed in the face of industry opposition.

And he reminds viewers of his opposition to the war in Iraq at a time when his rivals were voting in favor of the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

"I defied the politics of the moment, and opposed the war in Iraq before it began," he says.


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