Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama returned today to Iowa -- the place that 10 months ago launched him toward the Democratic nomination for president -- to thank supporters and urge them to work hard and reject negative campaigning in the final four days to the election.See pictures from the Obama rally
"This campaign began here. Iowa helped launch this campaign so the people of Iowa, I will always be grateful to all of you," Obama said. "On the day of the Iowa caucus, my faith in the American people was vindicated and what you started here in Iowa has swept the nation. ... A whole new way of doing democracy started right here in Iowa and it's all across the country now."
The campaign for Republican presidential candidate John McCain was quick to jump on that statement, sending out a response and video of it almost immediately after it was uttered.
"Hardworking families need a president whose faith in the American people is not predicated on his own election," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "At a time of mounting economic and foreign policy challenges, this country needs a president like John McCain who is experienced and tested -- and has proven his selfless faith in the American people."
Obama's 35-minute speech at an outdoor rally was attended by a police-estimated 25,000 people on a sunny, 70-degree fall day in downtown Des Moines. He poked fun at John McCain's voting with President Bush, saying "He hasn't been a maverick; he's been a sidekick." He rejected McCain's negative campaigning, saying, "he has spent the last few weeks of the campaign calling me every name in the book."