Occupy activists stake camp at Obama office

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Occupy Des Moines activists on Saturday vowed to shut down President Barack Obama’s campaign offices and set up a camp outside they plan to maintain around the clock.

“We have every intention to keep this place closed down until we are satisfied,” said Frank Cordaro, an activist and founder of the Catholic Worker group in Des Moines.

A handful of activists went to Obama’s nondescript office in a downtown strip mall after larger rallies to mark the three-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. They had hoped to read a statement demanding Obama cut military spending by half and “dismantle our U.S. military empire … so we can create jobs, balance the budget, meet our peoples’ needs here and help the human community to heal our dying planet.”

When they arrived, they found the doors locked.

“You wouldn’t even have known this was a campaign office,” said Julie Brown, an activist who recently moved to Des Moines.

To highlight its tenets, the protesters put up a hand-written sign on cardboard: “Obama’s Former Headquarters.”

Brown backed Obama four years ago — “he was the lesser of two evils,” she said — but has since soured on the whole political system.

“We need a real leader who will put this country back to work,” she said.

That anti-establishment flavor runs through the growing Occupy movement that has sprouted up across the country.

“This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is about the whole system being against us. The corporate elites own all of the politicians and they set the agenda,” Cordaro said. “What we are doing here is trying to win back our bought-and-sold political empire. We need to dismantle it because there is no difference between George Bush and Obama.”

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt declined to comment.