Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet Iowa July 4th blog special. Obama family stumps; Malia's birthday, Oskaloosa bookstore rings up sales. Report 5.


OSKALOOSA, IOWA—This charming small downtown is the first stop of Barack Obama’s July 4th campaign day, where an overflow crowd has formed in and outside the Smokey Row coffeehouse. The Democratic presidential candidate is joined by wife Michelle and daughters Malia, who is celebrating her 9th birthday today and sister Sasha, who is six.

On deck: Obama will hold a press conference in Pella—the time was changed from this afternoon in order to accommodate reporters, said Iowa Press Secretary Tommy Vietor, who is riding on bus with the traveling Obama press corps. The day will end at an Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines.

The Obama family is traveling in an RV, Sunseeker by Forest River. After Obama speaks and takes his time shaking hands and chatting with folks, his daughters go to the town square park across the street—with a gazebo decked out with flag bunting--and talk to a couple about their dog, a nine-week old Wheaten terrier.

Iowa fights hard to keep its first-in-the-nation vote and a reason is that it creates an economic boom for the state. Here’s a vivid example. Just next door to Smokey Joe’s is a book store named the Book Vault, so titled because it is housed in a former financial institution and the old vault now holds volumes.

Being July 4th, the independent book store would normally be closed. If not for the Obama visit, “We wouldn’t have been open otherwise,” said bookseller Jane Funi. “We probably will have in three hours what we will have in a regular work day. It was well worth it,” she said. They sold out their copies (about five each) of Obama’s best sellers, his memoir and his latest, “The Audacity of Hope.”

At 10:50 a..m. central time, the Book Vault sales totaled $536.10.
Over at Smokey Joe, Michelle Obama introduces her husband and said the family did not join him on Tuesday in Iowa because the girls camp had a haunted house visit scheduled they did not want to miss.

Michelle talks about how there is “something very special about Barack” and refers to his race for this U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. She said that took place a “long time ago.” Well, the primary was in March, 2004 and the general election in November of that year.

“What happened in Illinois is the same thing that is happening now,” citing Obama’s outstanding win with 70 percent of the vote. He won, Michelle Obama said, “because people wanted to believe in something better.” And because he was running against a Maryland Republican import who had no association with Illinois, the right-wing extremist Alan Keyes, who ran a nutcase campaign.

Obama, when it was his turn, praised Michelle as being “too smart” to want to run for president. “She just wants to tell the president what to do,” he said.

Obama is starting to slowly work President Bush’s grant of clemency to former Vice President Lewis “Scooter” Libby, letting him avoid prison, in his stump. He credits colleague Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) when he borrows Durbin’s pithy quote of quotes, that even Paris Hilton had to serve time.


This is coverage the regular media is not providing. Do you have anything to add to what the AP reported of Obama's comments on change? Do you have a sense of the Obamam organization's penetration and effecftiveness in Iowa? Please keep this info coming.

Didn't Obama run against Alan Keyes-a candidate who didn't even live in the state and is considered by most a total nut case?

"And because he was running against a Maryland Republican import who had no association with Illinois, the right-wing extremist Alan Keyes, who ran a nutcase campaign." That's true Lynn, but looking at some of the current Republican presidential candidates....

Glad to hear the Obama daughters remain focused on their "we want a dog" campaign. Weren't you tempted to ask them their thoughts on the Romney dog issue? (pet carrier, roof of car, 12 hours from Boston to Canada) I would expect the exchange of horrified looks followed immediately by informing their parents, in no uncertain terms, that this is NOT acceptable behavior and THEIR dog will always ride IN the car, between the two girls. ALWAYS. Stated as clearly as only six- and nine-years-olds can state a new family rule. :-)

It's outrageous how the liberal democratic bloggers are trying to belittle and discredit a patriot like John McCain. The main point regarding John McCain's military service goes to CHARACTER. Admirable character is when a POW, surviving in miserable conditions, chooses to remain in prison additional years, because an early release wouldn't be fair to his fellow prisoners. I know that Wesley Clark, Obama, and these criticizing bloggers wouldn't have the heart to do it ... they can't even recognize the importance of such an honorable commitment... even though their very freedom of speech, to complain on this blog, was won and protected by the same people with the courage to walk the walk ... not just talk the talk!

i don`t understand, but TY

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 4, 2007 1:28 PM.

Sweet Iowa blog special. Obama on fire, delivers stemwinder for new agers and townies. Dr. Sweet debut. Report 4. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: In Iowa, gnat the case. Obama's got the bug. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.