Tonight I listened to Senator Chris Dodd speak about why Iowans should support him in the Thursday night, January 3, 2008 Iowa Democratic caucuses. Basically Dood emphasized his foreign policy experience, his life long commitment to public service, and his concern about the future of the United States for his 2 young daughters. We met in a smoky bar, Steamboat Gardens in Waterloo, IA, with a crowd of about 75 people. Dodd is a smart guy and a nice guy. He has passion and enthusiasm. He shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and asked for my support. He is an honest man, given to some hyperbole, who wants the USA to continue as a great country with principled leadership. He has my respect. Can he get his message out to 125,000 Iowans who will be at the caucuses and sway their opinions? It will be hard, both Dodd and Biden need to explore new media, whether it is a live infomercial of a half hour campaign event, streaming video on a web site, YouTube coverage of the next 72 hours, or something even more informative and dramatic. Both Biden and Dodd need to break away from the 60 second commercial to have any chance with an informed, interested political audience.
I speculated in my last post that Biden needed to strategically spend an additional $15 per caucus vote he sought in the final 127 hours before the caucuses to gain additional support. That was a serious underestimate. All the campaigns, Republican and Democrat, are pouring money into the closing days of this contest.
Supposedly Barack Obama has the best computer support for identifying and maintaining relationships with supporters (the claim of the local TV news reporter). I can't confirm that, but I do know Senator Clinton's campaign has very targeted and sophisticated calling programs and mailings from what my household has experienced.
Last night, December 30, I attended an event on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa with more than 600 cheering Hillary Clinton supporters. The event was clearly targeted to women, given the composition of the audience and the fact my wife got the invitation not me. I got an email about a different Clinton event scheduled for today in Waterloo that ended up being cancelled because of weather-related travel problems. The woman who called to alert me about the cancellation did mention Former President Bill Clinton would be in town Wednesday and I should come listen.
So what about Senator Clinton? She is smart, serious and tough. She clearly brings compassion to some issues. She is long-winded but eloquent. Her mother and daughter and the former Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, joined her. She is good on the issues, more middle of the road than Edwards and Obama. She has been on the global stage and she has enormous self-confidence. I like her approach to withdrawal from Iraq. She proposes to start in phases 60 days after she takes office. Take time to plan and do it right, consider the details and leave in an organized manner. We have so many human and material resources in Iraq that we can't leave hurriedly or without careful planning. She knows we need to leave!
So who am I supporting right now? Biden is still the strongest, the most able man in the race. I'm willing to trust Senator Clinton, but I'm unsure about Former President Bill Clinton's role in her administration and I am concerned that gender bias might cause her to lose in November. On Thursday night I will be watching the passion and commitment of the "hard core" Hillary Clinton supporters. If she is the nominee, we are in for a massively divisive election.
Tomorrow is a day off for me. Wednesday I'll probably go to the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama events in Waterloo. This is an exciting time and I feel privileged to participate and meet these candidates.
And the Republicans. Huckabee was an unknown 12 weeks ago and Romney is throwing everything he can to see what sticks. The TV ads are nasty. Huckabee is trying to stay above the fray, but his poll numbers are slipping.
Posted December 31, 2007 7:01 PM
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