Monday, January 07, 2008

Barack Obama: 'Our Time for Change has Come'

NEWSWEEK: Cover: 'Our Time for Change has Come'

'This is the campaign I always wanted to run. If it doesn't work, it's not because of the organization we built or the respectful tone that we set,' Sen. Barack Obama Tells Newsweek.

Winning in Iowa: 'I think there's no doubt that it's a measure of our progress as a country. I've said from the beginning I had confidence in the American people.'

John McCain Says the Lesson of the GOP Iowa Caucus: 'one, you can't buy an election in Iowa, and two, negative campaigns don't work.'

NEW YORK, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ --

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses Sen. Obama tells Newsweek in the January 14 issue "Our Time For Change Has Come" (on newsstands Monday, January 7), "I feel calm," -- 24 hours before he'd know if it had all been worth it, or if he had been wasting his time. "This is the campaign I always wanted to run. If it doesn't work, it's not because of the organization we built or the respectful tone that we set," Obama tells Newsweek.

(Photo: )

Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe and Newsweek's political team report that the Iowa caucuses reshuffled the presidential field in both parties, throwing primary season into dramatic full swing. Obama's high-minded themes of hope and change-and not getting your hands dirty-can come off as earnest, even naive in the world of hardball presidential politics. But Obama is also a streetwise Chicago politician who put together a campaign machine formidable enough to take on the Clintons and win, Newsweek reports.

Polls had made it seem the contest would be close. Instead, Terry McCauliffe, Hillary's campaign manager, conceded that even Bill Clinton was "very surprised" by Obama's 9-point victory over his wife. The win crowned Obama the frontrunner, and put to rest the doubts of many people, both inside and outside his campaign. It also suggests that if his unorthodox approach to presidential politics worked in Iowa, it may also win over voters in other states around the country, Newsweek reports.

Generally shying away from discussing how "historic" it would be for him to win the White House, Obama nevertheless acknowledged that Iowa was, in fact, a noteworthy moment. "I think there's no doubt that it's a measure of our progress as a country," he tells Newsweek. "I've said from the beginning I had confidence in the American people. Race is no doubt still a factor in our culture. But people want to know who is going to provide healthcare that works, schools that work, a foreign policy that works. If they think you can do the work, I think they are willing to give you a chance."

This week's cover story reports that Obama's approach does not endear him to some Democrats who, furious at George W. Bush, came to the '08 campaign hoping for a fight. But for a more direct, unvarnished approach to politics, they need to look no further than Obama's wife. Michelle has thrown herself into the cause and the competition. Where Obama emphasizes hope and self- belief in his stump speech, Michelle Obama throws down a challenge to voters to step up.

While Obama rarely references his own racial identity or his personal struggles, Michelle draws a direct link between his experiences in overcoming prejudice to his readiness for power. Sitting on the campaign bus the night before the caucuses, Michelle explained her desire to shake up American politics. "We complain that politicians are mean and cynical and angry, but we've been doing the same thing over and over again," she tells Newsweek. "We have been making the same irrational decisions. When faced with the most rational choice, we hesitate -- and that is, that we have to break out of this." Obama explained his impact on politics a little more modestly. "What I was so pleased with was not just the fact that we won, or the raw numbers, but what it showed about the country," he says.

In an exclusive interview, a day after winning the Iowa caucus, Wolffe talks with Obama about what his win in Iowa -- an overwhelmingly white state -- says about America today. "It means that America is hungry for change... You know, when the American people get it in their minds that they have the power to change things, it's very hard to stop them," Obama says.

Newsweek also examines the shake up and future of the Republican Party. Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas and White House Correspondent Holly Bailey report that John McCain and Mike Huckabee have been exceedingly polite to each other, aiming their scorn at Mitt Romney. The lesson of the Iowa caucuses, said McCain, was, "one, you can't buy an election in Iowa, and two, negative campaigns don't work" -- a clear dig at Romney, who outspent Huckabee by about 20 to 1 and bought a slew of ads trashing his opponent. Openly praising each other while slyly knifing a mutual foe can work for a while. But if Romney goes down in New Hampshire and McCain and Huckabee roar into South Carolina on January 19 as the two frontrunners the love fest between them could be long over, Newsweek reports.

Also in the cover package:
-- Contributing Editor Ellis Cose writes that Barack Obama's win in Iowa
is a moment similar to where the country was in 1976, when another
largely untested idealist won Iowa's Democratic caucus. "It is quite
possible that Obama can succeed where (President Jimmy) Carter failed,
but not without helping America to embrace the fact that changing is a
lot harder than talking about it; and that being an agent of change
ultimately means shaking up things for many people who are quite
comfortable with the status quo."
-- Senior Editor and Columnist Jonathan Alter writes, "Iowa Nice" is over.
"The sweet culture of the cornfields ... is giving way to states with a
more bare-knuckle tradition. The question is how rough the Clintons and
their wide circle of political operatives will get."
-- Senior Political Correspondent Howard Fineman writes that, "while Mike
Huckabee advertises himself as a "Christian Leader," he is loath to
talk about his preacher days. On the campaign trail, it is the Lost
Decade of his life. Trying to have it both ways is what politicians do
for a living. But in Washington and the savvier precincts of elsewhere
(Nashville, for example), Republicans and their secular conservatives
allies are distraught at the thought of Huckabee as the GOP's 2008
presidential nominee."

(Read entire cover package at

Inside Obama's Dream Machine

'Hungry for Change' - Exclusive Interview with Sen. Obama

Photo: NewsCom:
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Source: Newsweek

CONTACT: LaVenia LaVelle of Newsweek, +1-212-445-4859

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