Iowa caucus ripples reach California

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland — the only California member of Congress to endorse Barack Obama for president — released this statement today:

“The record turnout for the Iowa Caucus is a win for Democrats and for change. I want to congratulate Senator Barack Obama, whom I previously endorsed, for his exceptional first place finish.

“Voters in Iowa, and all over this nation, are hungry for change and recognized last night – and will continue to recognize – that Senator Obama is the true agent of change in this race.

“This nation needs his leadership, vision and commitment at this defining moment in history, and I will continue to do all I can to ensure he is elected President.”

Meanwhile, staffers for Hillary Clinton ushered reporters in California and elsewhere onto a conference call within the past hour with campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and the New Hampshire and Nevada campaign chairs to stress how strong Clinton’s ground operations are in those states. They’re predicting wins in New Hampshire next Tuesday and in Nevada on Jan. 19; the most recent polls show Clinton ahead in both those states, but those polls were, of course, pre-Iowa…

UPDATE @ 6:50 P.M. FRIDAY: Tribune reporter Kelly Rayburn spoke this afternoon with Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland; here are his thoughts on the Iowa caucus:

Assemblymember Sandré Swanson, D-Oakland, didn’t get what he wanted Thursday night when U.S. Sen. Barack Obama trounced former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses.

But Swanson, a Clinton supporter, didn’t consider Iowa a complete loss either.

“It’s an exciting time to be a Democrat,” he said. “I’m supporting Hillary Clinton, but I’m excited about the fact that new people are getting involved in the process.”

Problem is those “new people,” young voters particularly, were key in delivering Obama his victory.

Swanson said Clinton can rebound.

“She’s in it for the long-haul,” he said. “This is an exciting race.”

If she loses?

“Whoever the nominee is, we have to ensure they win in November,” Swanson said. “I don’t think we can afford another four or eight years of Republican leadership.”

And that’s why Swanson was happy to see young voters participating.

“Whatever brings them to the polls,” he said. “I just think the fact they’re interested now gives us a larger majority in the fall.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • jh

    Barbara Lee doesn’t get it either….Last night should show both parties that people in this country are tired of the crap we have been getting from BOTH parties and want fresh new faces. Last night was a vote expressing the failure of both parties as much as it was for the hope that maybe one or both of these candidates are willing and able to make a change for the better in Washington.

  • Oakland Democrat

    Obama’s star power was created by the media. The “hope” he is peddling is mostly rhetoric as he has no program to implement behind his empy talk. Edwards is the candidate with the program. Can Americans ween themselves away from “stars” long enough to look at program and substance? It’s doubtful that they can do it in Oakland. Not only is everything here about “star” power, but everything here seems to be seen in terms of black and white. Until Oaklanders beyond this, will be stuck with endorsements like Lee’s.

  • jh

    Edwards is just another ambulance chaser with no substance…as far as star power for ANY of these candidates it is all created in the media….duhhh!!!!! Edwards like many others represent the same old crap of partisan politics being put ahead of what is good for the country.

  • Jerry B

    Both Barack and Hillary are too satisfied with the current situation;
    they will not take on the entrenched interests. John Edwards is
    the only one who sees how really screwed up things are, and
    what we need to do to change it.

  • Another Oakland Voter

    I think that it would have been hard to be an American and to not be excited about Obama’s showing and his speech Thursday night. I can even understand why young people are drawn to Obama’s approach. Just imagine, most of their conscious life (since 1998 and Clinton’s impeachment) politics has been nothing but vicious. They wisely want to turn away from that. But I am fearful that while Obama might get the nomination, he could not win, and if he won he could not govern. He is sounding too decent. The Republicans have shown for twenty years now that they go after the decent like wolves go after raw meat. First there was Roger Ailes (sp?), then the outrageous attack by the Republican senators (some of whom have now apologized for their behavior) against Anita Hill, then the impeachment, then Karl Rove and George Bush. I don’t see how a person committment to be decent can survive against this tsunami of vileness. The person who has my vote is John Edwards who is neither getting in bed with Wall Street nor is blind to the forces which will be brought against him.