Obama: One Man’s Second Choice

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 31, 2007 3:03pm

ABC News’ David Wright and Sunlen Miller Reports: The last question today at Barack Obama’s rally in a Jefferson, Iowa  high school gymnasium was unusually blunt. 

It came from a voter who was not a supporter of Obama’s.

"I’m not undecided," Iowa farmer Gene Blanshan shouted from the very back of the room, "I’m a Biden supporter."

But the voter said he is torn over his second choice.  Under Iowa Democratic Party rules, in most of the almost 2,000 Iowa precincts, supporters of candidates who fail to reach 15 percent support of that caucus meeting may switch allegiance and choose another candidate to support.

And in a race this tight, second choices matter.

"Why should I choose you over John Edwards?" he asked.

Obama smiled.  "John is a fine person with a beautiful family who has run a great campaign," he said.  But Obama argued that he, not Edwards, is more apt to deliver change.

Obama cited his own legislative efforts in Illinois to reduce the power of lobbyists.  He spoke of his early opposition to the Iraq war and to NAFTA.  "If you look at our track records," he said, "I think I can deliver."

After the event, Blanshan told reporters he asked Edwards the exact same question last August on the steps of the county courthouse.  But Blanshan said he liked Obama’s answer better.

"What matters to me is change," Blanshan said.

"I’m still for Biden," he said. "But my second choice now is Obama."

That doesn’t mean he’s giving up on Biden.  He still holds out hope, as do plenty of others we have met in Iowa these past few weeks, citing the Delaware Senator’s steadiness and experience.

He said: "In Iowa we get a second bite at the apple, so we always go with who we really want.  I think Biden will be the surprise of Thursday night."

"I think Biden will be more viable than anybody thinks," Blanshan said.

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