OELWEIN, IA.—A confident Barack Obama was predicting Friday that “we might just win this thing” as the former community organizer methodically focused on moving undecided voters to his side.
With polls showing Obama on the upswing—and with chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton running into a rough patch--Obama and his staff were increasingly optimistic. The wild card is John Edwards who is also in a position to win, especially in second round caucus voting.
At the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Manchester Obama said a victory in the Jan. 3 Iowa leadoff presidential vote seemed possible. “Although there were some doubters early on, we just might win this thing,” he said.
Campaign manager David Plouffe, with Obama on the first leg of a five-stop bus tour, said Obama will be in Iowa though the Jan. 3 caucus vote, excluding the holidays.
“You want to be in front of undecided voters,” Plouffe said. “Voters who may be supporting another candidate but their support is not locked in.”
Obama at each event made a point to thank local organizers and to ask people to sign supporter cards.
Here in a gym at the Oelwein Middle School, at the last event of a day that started more than 12 hours ago, Obama said “I suspect that some of you here are undecided.” A show of hands he requested revealed he was right—a repeat of a situation Obama saw for himself in earlier stops Friday.
“So we got some prospects here. ….I am going to try to be persuasive tonight (so that) at least some of you decide to support me,” Obama said.
While Obama is well positioned, in election time, the opening of the caucus at 7 p.m. on Jan 3. is a long time off.
Plouffe said he feels “good about where we are right now. I know this thing will have twists and turns; it always does. But I feel good about where we are right now.”
Richard Burroughs was one of the many undecided voters who came to listen to Obama speak at the Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg, Ia., a community on the banks of the Mississippi River overlooking Wisconsin on the other side.
Burroughs, 67, who makes engines at a John Deere plant, called himself a political independent. He’s leaning towards Edwards or Joe Biden, he said.
What more does he need to know to decide?
“I just think that it is something that will come to me,” he said. “I don’t think it is going to be like turning a light on in a room. I think that (when it) gets a little closer, I’ll be able to make a decision.”