Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Obama Rallies Packed Gymnasium

DES MOINES -- Riding a new wave of momentum from the Des Moines Register poll, Barack Obama told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in a high school gym here that his campaign is on the verge of shocking the world.

Obama's crowd was packed full of young kids, many wearing trendy hats and tight denim jeans. He's counting on many who will just be 18 by November to caucus for him Thursday night.

Obama did perturb some mediafolk for showing up to his scheduled 11 a.m. event 25 minutes late. "He's costing me money now. Democrats always cost you money," grumbled one UPI photographer.

Once Obama got speaking, he was moving at times. His stump speech went on a bit long -- over a half an hour, but the crowd didn't seem to mind. One of his biggest applause lines came when he spoke about international diplomacy. He spoke about how the Washington punditry first mocked him when he said he would sit down with threatening leaders from countries like Iran. But he said after spending 10 months in Iowa, that's the message he got from voters.

He never mentioned Hillary Clinton by name. But he certainly took several digs at her message of experience. He also took on her campaign's criticism of him -- that he's too hopeful.

"They say I'm a hope-monger," Obama said with a laugh. "Hope is not naive, nor ignorant," he added.

We're now off to a Mitt Romney house party in West Des Moines . . .

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