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Obama waxes nostalgic in Iowa, where his 2008 campaign was launched

November 03, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • President Obama campaigns in Dubuque, Iowa.
President Obama campaigns in Dubuque, Iowa. (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty…)

DUBUQUE, Iowa — President Obama waxed sentimental Saturday night about the closing days of his final campaign for office in an appeal to the voters who put him on the map.

Standing under a bright yellow gingko tree as he spoke in a town square here, Obama asked several thousand supporters to help him win Iowa just one more time.

“I started my presidential journey right here,” he said. “You know me by now. You may not agree with every decision I’ve made ... but you know I say what I mean.”

Five years ago, Democratic caucus participants gave Obama the first win of the primary season, erasing suspicions that the young senator could give a good speech but wasn't a bona fide contender for the party nomination.

He went on to carry the state in the general election – a memory clearly at the forefront of his mind as he began to count down the rallies remaining until Tuesday.

David Axelrod, Obama’s longest-standing professional advisor, acknowledges sharing a little nostalgia with the president.

“He is very cognizant that this is the closing argument of his last campaign,” Axelrod says. “He knows he’s never going to do this again.”

On this final tour, Axelrod and David Plouffe, who served as manager of the first campaign, always stand near the stage and watch every speech, not just some of them. Former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is expected to join the traveling crew soon.

The speechwriters stopped shaving their beards a few days ago, like some superstitious athletes during playoffs.

And advance staffers have made a late change to their rally musical playlist, returning to the exit song of 2008.

As they make their way to election day, they hope the lyrics – “signed, sealed, delivered” – speak to the state of the race.

"Knock on doors with me, and make some phone calls with me, and turn out with me," Obama implored the crowd. "We'll win this election."

christi.parsons@latimes.com

@cparsons

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