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Obama Thanks Iowa, Asks For More

ALISON STEWART, host:

Now, as Juan mentioned, today Barack Obama is holding events in Nevada and Missouri. Yesterday he was in the Midwest, including Iowa where his January win in the caucuses gave him the first victory of this long election season. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.

DON GONYEA: On the final Friday before Election Day, Barack Obama flew to Des Moines for a big downtown rally on a perfect Indian summer day with temperatures in the 70s. He was here to ensure a big voter turnout, but also to say thanks for what happened in January when he unexpectedly won the first big contest of the year.

(Soundbite of Democratic campaign rally, Des Moines, Iowa)

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Democratic Presidential Candidate): What you started here in Iowa has swept the nation. We're seeing the same turnout. We're seeing the same people going and getting in line, volunteers, people participating. A whole new way of doing democracy started right here in Iowa, and it's all across the country now.

GONYEA: Obama's day yesterday included an evening rally in Gary, Indiana, and earlier, a few hours back home in Chicago to spend time on Halloween night with his two young daughters, Sasha and Malia. One dressed up as an evil fairy, the other as a corpse bride. They didn't go trick or treating door to door, instead opting for a Halloween party at a friend's home. At one point Obama was seen walking down the street with one daughter.

When a Polish TV crew approached him with camera rolling, the usually unflappable Obama was visibly perturbed as he asked for some privacy. As he walked past the U.S. press pool nearby he said, that's enough, you've got your shot. Leave us alone. Also yesterday, in a strategic move, the Obama campaign announced that for the first time it will begin running TV ads in an unlikely place, John McCain's home state of Arizona.

(Soundbite of Democratic campaign ad)

Unidentified Announcer: Something's happening in America. In small towns and big cities, people from every walk of life uniting in common purpose: Barack Obama. Endorsed by Warren Buffett and Colin Powell, a leader who will bring us together.

Senator OBAMA: We can choose hope over fear and unity over division...

GONYEA: McCain still leads in Arizona, but in most polls the race has gotten closer there. Obama campaign officials aren't talking like they expect to capture the state, but the ads do send a message that they have the resources and the nerve to go after Republicans anywhere, even on McCain's home turf. Don Gonyea, NPR News, traveling with the Obama campaign in Gary, Indiana. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.