Barack Obama came close to declaring victory during his speech in Iowa tonight, but didn’t quite get around to it…
DES MOINES, Iowa – Barack Obama declared himself “within reach” of the Democratic nomination Tuesday and celebrated in the state where his win in the opening contest of the presidential primary season helped reshape the race.
Speaking to some 6,000 supporters at an outdoor rally with the Iowa Statehouse as a backdrop, the Illinois senator pointed to a campaign where few gave him much of a chance of winning when he started the journey a year and a half ago. He is now the likely nominee.
“Tonight, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America,” he said.
Obama paid tribute to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who coasted to an overwhelming victory in the Kentucky primary Tuesday. But the tenor of his speech left little doubt that he has put the lengthy and hard fought contest against her behind him.
Oregon also voted Tuesday, but the outcome was unknown as Obama spoke.
“The road here has been long and that is partly because we’ve traveled it with one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for the office,” he said, speaking of the senator from New York and congratulating her on her Kentucky victory.[..]
“The same question that first led us to Iowa 15 months ago is the one that has brought us back here tonight,” Obama said. “The question of whether this country, at this moment, will keep doing what we’ve been doing for four more years or whether we will take that different path.
“It is more of the same versus change,” he said.
Obama warned of a tough campaign ahead against the Republicans and Arizona Sen. John McCain, their expected presidential nominee.
“They will play on our fears and out doubts and our divisions to distract us from what matters to you,” Obama said. “Well, they can take the low road if they want, but it will not lead this country to a better place. And it will not work in this election. It won’t work because you won’t let it.”
He sought unity within the Democratic Party, and with Clinton’s supporters, as he looked ahead to the fall.
“No matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and your daughters will come of age, and for that we are grateful to her,” Obama said. “Some may see the millions and millions of votes cast for each of us as evidence our party is divided, but I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take this country in a new direction.”
(Note to wingnuts: Look closely at the picture attached to the story above. You may click on it to make it bigger. Is that…? Could it be…? Oh, my gosh, it is! Senator Obama is wearing a flag pin on his lapel! You may rest easy tonight. All is well with the world once again.)