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The Cedar Rapids Gazette - Obama Gains a Convert in Independence

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Location: Independence, IA

The Cedar Rapids Gazette - Obama Gains a Convert in Independence

By Orlan Love

At least one person openly declared her belief in Obamaism at the conclusion of a campaign rally here Thursday for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

"I have been converted," said Kristy Malinowski, 30, of Independence, who said she had been so turned off by politics that she had not voted in a presidential election since 2000.

Malinowski said she believes Obama when he says he intends to represent common people rather than special interests.

"I believe he will change the way things are run in Washington," said Malinowski, who signed a pledge to support Obama in the January precinct caucuses.

In remarks to about 200 people at the Buchanan County Fairgrounds, the first-term Illinois senator emphasized his opposition to a Washington establishment that has failed to enact substantial reforms in energy policy and the way health care is administered and funded.

"We have been talking about health care reform for decades, and nothing has happened. You know why? Because drug and insurance companies have spent $1 billion to preserve the status quo," he said.

Similarly, gas and oil companies have dominated the debate about energy conservation and independence, he said.

If elected, Obama said he would steer the country toward energy independence and universal health insurance coverage.

"The system has not been working for us," the self-described "hope monger and hope peddler" said.

Obama said America's leaders have failed to tap into the "core of decency and generosity of spirit" that would enable the country to surmount its challenges.

"The next president has got to tell the American people what they need to hear … the truth," said Obama, who had spoken earlier Thursay in Waterloo and was bound for another stop Thursday night in Decorah.

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