Coralville, Iowa I just went to an Obama event near Iowa City--not far from the University of Iowa and legions of young voters rumored to favor the senator from Illinois. (The Obama campaign says there were about 900 people in attendance.) The first thing that struck me was how explicitly Obama rebutted the preparedness argument Bill Clinton made recently on Charlie Rose. Yesterday in Des Moines, Obama alluded to it only elliptically: "The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result," Obama said.
I just had a chance to read over the "closing argument" speech Obama delivered in Des Moines this morning. With the caveat that I didn't actually hear him deliver it, it read more impressively than I expected based on those talking points I mentioned earlier.
I didn't see a whole lot new in the talking points Mark Halperin says are the gist of Obama's retooled stump speech, but this nugget did stand out a bit: The truth is, you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Obama’s experience is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change. But those are not Obama’s words.
The Democratic half of that Globe poll I just mentioned shows Obama pulling ahead in New Hampshire--he edges Hillary 30 to 28. (He's up nine points and she's down seven since early November.) Two things jump out at me in the Globe's write-up. First, I suggested in my recent Obama piece that he could hold his own with blue-collar voters. The Globe finds evidence of this, too: One of the major shifts in the Democratic race came in New Hampshire's biggest city, Manchester, which is home to many blue-collar voters.
Speaking of Iowa muddles, Jonathan Martin does a nice job sorting out where things stand on the Republican side heading into the home stretch. Key grafs: Huckabee: The major question now looming over his surge -- is it for real?
Washington, Iowa There's always been a touch of meta in Obama's famous "fired up/ready to go" story. (Anyone who hasn't heard it can watch him tell it here. Fast forward to about 2:50.) In the couple of weeks since I last saw him, though, the meta's gone off the charts. Here's how he wrapped it up today: For the rest of the day, even after I left Greenvillewood, every time I saw my staff, I said, "Are you fired up?" They said, "We're fired up! Are you ready to go, Senator?" "I'm ready to go!" That used to be where the story ended, but it's taken a life of its own.
Iowa City, Iowa One of the big topics of conversation among the reporters following Huckabee is if or when the famously thin-skinned governor will lash out at someone in a way that sets him back. I personally don't think it's going to happen. The Huckabee campaign isn't the most disciplined operation, to say the least. And Huckabee is hardly the most disciplined candidate. (That honor probably goes to Romney--or at least it did before the "definition of saw" fiasco.) But if there's one thing Huckabee knows absolutely can't happen, it's some kind of blow-up.
Davenport, Iowa I'm sitting in an empty auditorium in downtown Davenport with a bunch of disappointed journalists. Disappointed because Obama's event here today has been cancelled on account of fog. It was apparently too thick for Obama's plane to land, and so he touched down in Chicago and is now driving to Eastern Iowa to try to make an event later this afternoon. But the kicker, as Ben Smith informs me, is that the fog is apparently toxic.
Via Jonathan Martin, I see that Huckabee is going even further than I'd noticed yesterday in trying to rile up evangelicals in his battle with the "Washington to Wall Street axis." Here's what he tells the Christian Broadcasting Network's ubiquitous David Brody in an interview on the CBN site today: There is a level of elitism that has existed, the chattering class if you will who lives in that corridor between Washington and Wall Street and they sort of live in their protected world, and frankly for a number of years many of them thought of people like me--whether it was because we were evang
Ames, Iowa What can you say? When I looked in on Mike Huckabee in Iowa this summer, he was at single digits in the polls and, even on his best days, only merited the odd paragraph of MSM coverage. Now, of course, there are literally dozens of reporters hanging on his every word. (See photos below.) A couple interesting tidbits from today: 1.) Asked about Romney's attacks at a press avail in the parking lot of a West Des Moines shopping mall, Huck waxed magnanimous. Sort of. "You need to look [at it] with some sense of sympathy," he said.