IMAGE: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Paul Sancya  /  AP
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
updated 11/7/2007 3:38:37 PM ET 2007-11-07T20:38:37

Democrat Barack Obama portrayed himself as an impatient problem-solver Tuesday as he launched a five-day campaign swing through vote-rich areas of Iowa.

He also touted his support for efforts to curtail the power of lobbyists in Washington and his refusal to accept their campaign donations.

"We need somebody who has some impatience, somebody who is impatient with the problems that have festered for so long," the Illinois senator said, making the case for his candidacy to about 700 people at an evening rally.

"We've been talking about the problem of health care for decades through both Republican and Democratic administrations. If we think we can change health care without changing our politics, we're fooling ourselves," he said.

No strings
Obama faces significant challenges in his bid for the Democratic nomination, and his latest swing through the state leads up to the Iowa Democratic Party's biggest annual fundraiser, the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on Saturday.

His fundraising has been prodigious and he attracts huge crowds, but rival Hillary Rodham Clinton has forged a big lead in national polls, though he is not far behind her in Iowa, which will hold its leadoff caucuses Jan. 3.

Obama will campaign in eastern Iowa through Sunday.

In his remarks, he also talked about his support for efforts to limit the influence of Washington lobbyists and his refusal to accept their donations, drawing a contrast with Clinton, who accepts their money and has defended them.

"I want to be clear that there are no strings around me when I go to the White House," he said.

Obama on Wednesday is scheduled to deliver what aides say will be a major policy speech about income inequities across the country. He touched on that theme in his remarks Tuesday night.

Americans "don't expect the government to solve all their problems, but they do hope the government will help them a little bit," he said. "They don't want a lot but they want a government that will be working for them."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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