Minnesota voters came out in strong support of presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama last Tuesday, February 5. The Illinois senator garnered 67% of the vote, netting him 48 delegates. His competitor, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, garnered 32% of the vote, earning 24 delegates. According to the Minnesota DFL, nearly 213,000 Minnesotans attended DFL precinct caucuses last Tuesday. Voters turned out in record numbers, some waiting in lines that wrapped around blocks.
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Minnesota voters came out in strong support of presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama last Tuesday, February 5. The Illinois senator garnered 67% of the vote, netting him 48 delegates. His competitor, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, garnered 32% of the vote, earning 24 delegates.
According to the Minnesota DFL, nearly 213,000 Minnesotans attended DFL precinct caucuses last Tuesday. Voters turned out in record numbers, some waiting in lines that wrapped around blocks. There were numerous reports from precincts that attendance was three times as high as it was during the last presidential cycle. The evening has been described by pollsters and political analysts as historic.
Obama's Minnesota win came on the heels of a sold-out Target center rally the previous Saturday. Although doors for the event opened at 1:30 pm, by 12:30 in the afternoon, a long line of anxious Obama supporters wrapped around the Target Center and extended onto the 7th Street Bridge.
Obama was introduced by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and Jane Freeman, wife of former Minnesota Governor Orville L. Freeman. Congressman Keith Ellison and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman joined Ryback in greeting Obama supporters. Ryback said Obama's leadership could help form a new political consensus.
Jane Freeman gave a ringing endorsement of Obama; calling him a leader that could inspire a generation of people. "It is my great hope that people [support] Barack. We can have the greatest generation of the 21st century," she said.
Obama appeared on stage to a crowd that was deafening. The cheers swelled with every gesture or wave he made. He led his address by proclaiming that he was running because of "the fierce urgency of now", a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and not because of "political ambitions. We want something different; we want to turn the page," he said.
The senator's speech was filled with promises of rolling back Bush tax cuts, of forming trade agreements that reflect safety and environmental standards and he said he would raise the minimum wage to keep page with inflation. He promised universal healthcare by the end of his first term as president.
"We cannot wait to fix our schools. Teachers are digging in their pockets for school supplies," said Obama. He said teachers should be rewarded with higher salaries and support. "Every child is our child; not somebody else's problem," he added.
"We want to teach arts, literature and science --all things that go into making well-rounded citizens," he said. Obama said he supports expansion of national community service for students. "We'll invest in you and you'll invest in America," he said.
Obama said lobbyists have not funded his campaign and they will not run his White House. "They will not drown out the voices of the American people." He mentioned his campaign's grassroots fundraising strategy, which, he said, has 170,000 new donors this month. According to the Associated Press, the Obama campaign raised $7 million in the 48-hours after Super Tuesday.
Obama commented on Iraq, which has been one of the leading issues in this year's presidential race. He said this country cannot wait to bring an end to the war. "The war in Iraq was unwise," he said. An investment in America's bridges, roads and schools would make the country 'more safe' he said.
He promised to bring troops home by 2009. Obama said: "Veterans are ashamed of Guantanamo and ashamed of Abu Ghraib. They don't understand how we could torture [prisoners].
Obama differentiated between himself and Clinton saying, "We shou