Today's steak fry host and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin just took the stage and gave a full round of thank-yous... "We're ready to kick some elephant!" said Harkin to a loud roar from the crowd.
Harkin says that the only way of getting out of Iraq is to elect a democratic president. Harkin briefly touched on a few other issues.
"Now let's hear from the next president of the United States," Harkin said (This statement may have been confused as an endorsement for speaker number one, Barack Obama? Harkin said the speaking order had been drawn out of a hat.
"The American people are not the problem, the American people are the answer."
Barack is discussing the Constitution now and hitting on economics and, of course, the war...
"Change in America is going to begin when we get Bush and Cheney out of office."
Obama says we've been spending decades discussing issues like universal heath care and independence on foreign oil, but now we need to have "fundamental change."
Obama is now talking about having "common experience" and saying he had confidence to stand up against the war when he knew it was wrong.
He says he'll bring "change." (A theme common to several campaigns).
[Some technical problems here in the press room. Sorry for the break]
[Back online. Jumping into speech mid-way]
Reduce green house gases...
"Al Gore was right, we just hope he doesn't get into the race," said Richardson.
I'll have a Teacher as Sec. of Ed.; Union member as Sec. of Labor.
"I want to earn your vote."
"Are you ready to take your country back?!"
"Good afternoon Iowa!"
Clinton is recollecting a movie with "glorious corn fields" -- "If you build it they will come!"
(I need not remind all of you what movie this is.)
Clinton is going over a list of issues: Iraq, health care, ... "Are you ready for change?" Clinton said. (Change, where did we hear that? Hmm.)
"We've got to get back to diplomacy," Clinton says.
Clinton is now getting back to health care - specifically veterans... "How have we come to the point that even our veterans are becoming invisible?" (Those 'invisibles' - a common Clinton theme.)
"Three things we have to do: get costs down, quality up, and cover every single person."
She's now teasing her press conference on Monday where her campaign says she will make a "major" policy announcement in regards to health care.
Clinton is reminiscing about her work on health care for children.
Clinton's asking people to support the campaign, to endorse her, and "restore America's greatness."
"I know we can do this together and I'm ready to lead!"
Clinton exits to loud "Hillary" cheers.
"You are showing great patience in Iowa."
Dodd is ALSO referencing that famous Iowa baseball movie starring that Dancing With Wolves actor (oh, what's his name?).
"Is this heaven, no it's Iowa!"
Dodd is now name-dropping. A few: Former Iowa Senator John Culver, Congressmen Berkley Bedell and Mike Blouin; current Congressmen Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley; and also, of course, steak fry host Sen. Tom Harkin.
Dodd is reciting the things he worked on with Harkin in the Senate. "Thank you Iowa for giving us Tom Harkin!"
Dodd is recollecting his lunch menu from last month's state fair. "I had no idea there was a fried twinkie and a fried oreo..."
Now getting serious again.
"I'm angry about what has happened over the last six years."
Dodd is citing his service in the peace corps 40 years ago.
"I'm standing before you today in Iowa as a presidential candidate because I want my country to have a better future."
Dodd is joking about his age (he's 63) and the fact that he has a daughter who's age is in the single digits... His AARP and diapers joke.
"The answers to these issues will not just take one person. It will take the entire party."
Dodd touting his work passing the Family Medical Leave Act.
"Very first thing I'll do is restore the Constitution of the United States."
Dodd says the first thing a president should do is to "keep us safe."
Dodd says we need the leadership in the country like there was during the JFK era.
"We have great democratic candidates but we need to work together as a democratic party."
After the Inauguration, "All 12,000 of you are invited to spend the night in the White House."
Posting... Be back.