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Sweet scoop: Obama tapes message to Kenyans: "The way forward is not through violence." Developing

DES MOINES–White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the son of a Kenyan who received a heros welcome when he visited his father’s country in 2006, issued a plea Wednesday to the Kenyan people to stop the violence that erupted in the wake of a disputed presidential election.

On the day before the Iowa caucus, the first presidential vote, Obama taped a message while in Davenport, Iowa for the Kenyan people broadcast on the Voice of America.

“Despite irregularities in the vote tabulation, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away. Now is a time for President Kibaki, opposition leader Odinga, and all of Kenyas leaders to call for calm, to come together, and to start a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them. Now is the time for this terrible violence to end,” he said in the message.

Obama spoke with Rice last night and with Mike Rannenberger, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya this morning. Rannenberg accompanied Obama on much of his Kenyan visit, which included a visit to his father’s homestead near the city of Kisumu.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined to provide specifics leading up to the Obama taping

The Obama statement to the nation of Kenya

“I have been deeply troubled by the recent news out of Kenya. The instability and tragic violence pose an urgent and dangerous threat to the people of Kenya, and to Kenyan democracy. My familys thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered, and to the families of the victims.

“The Kenyan people have a proud history of supporting the growth of democracy in their country. Their thirst for democracy was on display in this most recent election, when they turned out to vote in record numbers, and in a peaceful and orderly way.

“Despite irregularities in the vote tabulation, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away. Now is a time for President Kibaki, opposition leader Odinga, and all of Kenyas leaders to call for calm, to come together, and to start a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them. Now is the time for this terrible violence to end.

“Kenyas long democratic journey has at times been difficult. But at critical moments, Kenyans have chosen unity and progress over division and disaster. The way forward is not through violence it is through democracy, and the rule of law. To all of Kenyas people, I ask you to renew Kenyas democratic tradition, and to seek your dreams in peace.”