Iowa Democrats rally with Rahm, who rails about Romney (audio)

The Iowa Democratic Party’s annual fall fundraiser, the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, featured speeches from Iowa’s three Democratic congressman and Christie Vilsack, a Democratic candidate for congress — plus a keynote speach from former Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago who worked in the Clinton & Obama Administrations.

AUDIO Rahm Emanuel’s speech 23 min

Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo who plans to seek reelection in 2012, urged the party faithful to refocus on the “hope and change” that were the hallmarks of the 2008 election. “It’s time for us to stop complaining. We’ve got a lot of hard work to do,” Braley said. “Let’s get to work.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City who intends to seek reelection in 2012, urged the party faithful to do all they can to elect Democrats up & down the ticket in 2012.  “Let’s keep fighting as hard as we possibly can,” he said.

Congressman Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines who intends to seek reelection and will face Republican Congressman Tom Latham in 2012 (because of redistricting), lamented the “escaping” American dream for the next generation.  “We’ve got to assure we hang onto this great country of ours,” Boswell said.

Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, a Democrat from Ames who plans to challenge Republican Congressman Steve King in 2012, talked about “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and how she thought when she read it the first time that her dad was Atticus Finch and the second time she read it she thought Atticus Finch was her husband, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who is a lawyer.

“This year when I read it, I realized I’m Atticus Finch. In fact, all of us are Atticus Finch,” she said, to applause.  “And when you hear someone like Steve King say that people who are unemployed shouldn’t be allowed to vote and when you hear him say the people who don’t own property shouldn’t be allowed to vote, then somebody’s got to stand up and I’m going to stand up.”

AUDIO of Vilsack’s speech.

A recorded video from US Senator Tom Harkin was played, then at 8:20 p.m. Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky began the introduction of Emanuel.

“While we meet here tonight, the Republicans are having a debate across town,” Emanuel said. “I’ve watched a couple of those debates and I’ve got to be honest, I never thought I’d say this — I’m beginning to miss the wisdom of Sarah Palin.”

Emanuel called the GOP candidates a “collection of turkeys” and he joked about Romney, Newt, Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

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