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The Cedar Rapids Gazette - Obama: American People Solution to Problems

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Location: Anamosa, IA

The Cedar Rapids Gazette - Obama: American People Solution to Problems

By James Q. Lynch

Kenyan-American Barack Obama, a presidential hopeful by way of Hawaii, Indonesia, New York and Chicago, wants to tap the values and the common sense of Grant Wood country.

"There's a lot of talk about how divided the country is, red states and blue states, how our politics are divisive and negative," Obama told about 300 people in Anamosa Thursday afternoon, "but you know, what's wrong with this country is not the American people. The American people are the answer.

"If we could just see the core decency and generosity and common sense of the American people reflected in Washington, we're going to be doing very well," the Illinois Democrat said at a town hall meeting not far from where Jones County native and "American Gothic" painter Grant Wood hosted an art colony in the 1930s.

But the people are frustrated, Obama said, by a president who has made the rich richer, the poor poorer and forgotten the middle class. They're frustrated by the inability of the world's wealthiest nation to create a health care system that covers all its citizens and an education that, despite the slogan, leaves millions of
children behind.

"Most of all," Obama said, "they are frustrated over a disastrous war that has cost us millions of dollars, thousands of lives and has not made us more safe."

Obama, a second-term senator offered himself as a candidate from a new generation that wants to "reclaim America's future."

Obama, who in many polls of likely Iowa caucus-goers is trailing fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, found some takers in the audience.

"I heard a lot of good things today," said Mary Hughes of Anamosa, who hasn't made up her mind which Democrat to support. "I think he's someone who is ready."

Her friend Marilyn Lloyd of rural Anamosa is supporting Obama.

"He has the right answers," Lloyd said. "He was speaking from where I come from."

He even picked up a GOP vote.

"I really liked him," said Steven Kenney Jr. of Martelle, who described himself as a registered Republican. "He's definitely got my vote."

That seemed to reinforce Obama's claim of a "track record of bringing people together around common sense solutions."

"I'm running because I'm confident I have the right experience for what the country needs right now," Obama said. "The right experience is the ability to bring people together to get things done."

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