[digg-reddit-me]The consensus seems to be that Obama made some hay at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa. According to every account I have read, he had the best speech and the best audience response and his organization proved it could pack a large auditorium better than any opposing candidate, which would seem to bode well for the upcoming Iowa caucuses. The Des Moines Register’s David Yepsen concluded that “Obama’s superb speech could catapult his bid”.
Some background to illustrate the importance of the Jefferson-Jackson dinner:
The dinner is the Democratic party of Iowa’s main fundraiser which attracts a few thousand of the top activists in the state and most presidential candidates. It was where John Kerry launched his successful come-from-behind victory over Howard Dean after Kerry retooled his campaign. This year’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner was the largest ever, with over 9,000 people packed into the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Obama had the largest contingent of supporters, followed by Hillary and then Edwards. Each candidate had their moments, but Obama was clearly the star of the show.
Coupled with a strong showing on Meet the Press this Sunday, a number of New Hampshire polls showing Hillary’s support dropping as much as 10 points with Obama gaining almost all of that, and a strong Iowa organization, the stars might aligning for this “skinny kid with a funny name”.
Here’s some excerpts from his speech with the complete video after the jump:
A little less than one year from today you will go into the voting booth and you will select the next President of the United States. Here’s the good news. The name G.W. Bush will not be on the ballot. The name of my cousin Dick Cheney will not be on the ballot. We’ve been trying to hide that for a long time. Everybody has a black sheep in the family. [laughter]
The era of Scooter Libby justice and Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over. But the question you’re gonna have to ask yourself when you caucus in January and you vote in November is what’s next for America. We are at a defining moment in our history…The promise that so many generations fought for seems like it’s slipping away…we’ve lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about it.
It is because of those failures that America is listening…we not only have a moment of great challenge, but a moment of great opportunity. We have a chance to bring the American people together, in a new majority…
That’s why telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won’t do. Triangulating and poll-driven positions because we’re worried about what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won’t do…
When I am this party’s nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq … And he will not be able to say that I waivered on something as fundamental as whether it is okay for America to torture because it is never okay. That’s why I’m in it!
… I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century … and I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says you matter to us, your future is our future, and our moment is now. America, our moment is now.
Our moment is now!
I don’t want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s. I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be the President of the United States of America.
And if those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them head-on. Because I believe the American people are tired of fear, and tired of distractions…we can make this election not about fear, but about the future, and that will not be just a Democratic victory, that will be an American victory, a victory that America needs right now!
I am not in this race to fulfill some longheld ambitions or because I believe it’s somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here. I always knew this journey was improbable. I am running in this race because of of what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us.
Complete video after the jump.