Fischer to Obama camp

Former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer today endorsed Barack Obama for president.

In a telephone conference call with reporters, Fischer cited three reasons for making the jump to Obama’s campaign: Obama’s electability, his modus operandi as a "change agent" and the politices/issue positions Obama has introduced.

Fischer said like all Democrats, he is "desperate to win the WH and I am absolutely convinced Senator Obama has the best chance against any of the Republicans in the field."  Fischer said it is not enough to just "gin up the base" — a candidate must bring along Independents and even some Republicans.  Obama, in Fischer’s words, is "clearly the best-positioned candidate" to have that cross-over appeal.  Fischer cited a poll from U-of-I in which Obama finished third among Republican respondents.  Fischer said Obama is "a candidate with coattails" to help down-the-ballot candidates.  "All the good ideas in the world…don’t mean anything if you can’t get elected," Fischer said.

Next up, Fischer’s "change agent" mantra.  "Senator Obama brings a freshness to the race, a new perspective to the race," Fischer said.  According to Fischer, while pundits are concerned about experience, Obama "has the right kind of experience to help us break out of the gridlock."  Fischer then cited a bit more of Obama’s advertising mantra, mentioning Obama’s "bold, new ideas" and then discussed Obama’s tax plan.

The first reporter to ask a question referenced Fischer attendance last Monday at Hillary Clinton’s health care speech.

"I like all six candidates a lot, I really do, but ultimately it came down to electability," Fischer said when asked why he chose Obama.  Fischer told reporters he made the decision over the weekend.

Fischer has never held elected office in Iowa and served two years as party chairman.  My question was what value a Gordon Fischer announcement means for Obama, and whether Fischer would become a paid consultant to the campaign.

"My value is frankly knowing a lot of people and being able to hopefully bring some of those people along," Fischer said.

Fischer, who is a lawyer, was a huge backer of Tom Vilsack’s candidacy. Fischer was hugely/wildly critical of former Lee Enterprises/soon-to-be Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman who predicted (on WHO-TV) in December (back when Vilsack was a presidential candidate) that Vilsack would be forced to drop out of the race by the summer. In January during a visit to the Iowa Statehouse, Fischer ridiculed the notion that Vilsack would have trouble raising money and would be forced to drop out of the race by the summer.  On February 23, Vilsack dropped out.

Fischer’s wife, Monica, worked in the Vilsack administration and was a key organizer for Vilsack when Iowa hosted the National Governors Association in Des Moines.  She, too, is endorsing Obama today.

(Note to Fischer – Gordon, not Monica:  Tommy Vietor, one of Obama’s Iowa-based press people, pronounces his last name “VEE-tor” not “vee-ATE-or” as you said on today’s call.)

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. “Senator Obama brings a freshness to the race, a new perspective to the race,” Fischer said.”
    I definitely agree with this – he brings a whole new “aura” to the table.


    Iam writing from The Gambia,west africa and a strong supporter of Barack obama.wishes to inform you that Obama has the support of all his brothers and sisters in africa.God willing he will be the next president of the USA,who can clean the republican mess in washington.