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Des Moines Register - Obama Chooses Shoe Leather Over TV Ads

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Location: Dubuque, IA

Des Moines Register - Obama Chooses Shoe Leather Over TV Ads

By Jason Clayworth

Barack Obama today launched what he touted as one of the largest and earliest nation-wide door-to-door efforts in presidential campaign history.

"It is a testimony to the degree to which people as I travel all across the country are so invested in change," said Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois. "They want to turn the page and create a new kind of politics."

More than 200 people in Dubuque volunteered Saturday to work for Obama, a Democrat. In total, at least 38 groups that included more than 1,500 volunteers campaigned door-to-door. The event, known officially as the "Walk for Change" attracted more than 10,000 volunteers in 50 states.

Obama raised $25 million in the first quarter of his campaign, which was almost the same as New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has led many of the polls as the national Democratic presidential candidate front runner.

Unlike some other candidates, Obama's campaign has not yet started to run television ads, instead concentrating the effort on dozens of smaller and more personal stops such as coffee shops or restaurants.

His campaign staff today declined to say when or if they would begin to run television ads.

Obama spent about an hour and visited five homes in Dubuque, where he was followed by dozens of local and national newspaper and television employees.

Residents congregated on front porches to meet Obama and watched as the crowd ˆ which included Secret Service agents walked door to door. Obama handed out information about his health care plan and, generally, asked residents about issues that concern them most.

Dubuque resident June Manning spoke with Obama on her front porch. She described the senator as "cordial and friendly" and that his visit was like her "15 minutes in the sunshine."

"I was up in the air between him and Hillary but I have chosen him," Manning said a few minutes after Obama left her door.

Obama kicked off the event at Lincoln elementary school in Dubuque. Nick Wagner, who lives across the street, invited friends over for a barbecue and to play a bean-bag toss game as Obama supporters gathers. Hand-written signs on his house said "Barack Rocks" and "Obama, Oh Baby."

"I was pretty much undecided but since he chose this location, it will win me," Wagner said.

Some of Obama's campaign staff handed out campaign shirts and they walked to the homes. Near the end, Obama asked his staff to try to find one last shirt for a woman who missed out on the freebies. One of the workers took his shirt off and gave it to the woman, advising her to wash it first.

"It was a lot of fun, of course it helps when it's 80 degrees and perfect and everybody is so nice and friendly," Obama said before he left Dubuque.

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