Here’s a potpourri of things:

Iowa Democrats gathered for their annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on Saturday night.  It was interesting to guage the audience reactions to each of the big-name Democrats as they were introduced to the crowd (as "We Are Family" blared over the loud speakers).  Harkin received the loudest response.  The crowd response to Vilsack may have been muted by the video display problems when he and his wife reached the stage.  The video display actually went to "bars" (the color block pattern) and then went black before someone re-booted — all during the Vilsack opening "moment" at center stage.

There was an awkward moment when Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson was performing emcee duties on the "theater-in-the-round" stage.  The sound technician was blocking the camera shot of her — so the crowd watching the big screens saw this gentleman adjusting the lectern and the microphone in the foreground with Pederson in the background.  The lectern was arranged to face the bank of cameras, so people in the east side of the room had a rear view of Clinton during his entire speech. 

When Clinton entered the room to take the stage, some people in the back of the room actually stood on their chairs to get a better glimpse.  After Clinton’s 50 minute speech, Democrats did their traditional begging-for-cash schtick.  Harkin got Clinton to donate his tie, and long-time Democratic contributor Bill Knapp bought it for $3000.

The room was arranged so that the press riser and tables for journalists with laptops was right in front of the entrance to the restrooms.  Note to Hy-Vee Hall staff:  the "fumes" were pretty strong.   

Iowa Republicans will hold their annual fall fundraiser on October 28th.  The speaker:  former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, Bush’s first Homeland Security Secretary.

Arizona Senator John McCain is due in Iowa this week.  One of his stops will be on the campus of Iowa State University where he’ll be taping the MSNBC show "Hardbill with Chris Mathews" — Mathews will be in Ames, too. 

Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards was in Iowa over the weekend and before his last appearance in Altoona, I told him I’d be speaking with his wife today about her book — "Saving Graces" — and asked him if he had a question to suggest.

"Ask her how much she loves her husband," Edwards suggested, laughing, then he continued:   "I think you should ask her what it was like for her to go through the emotional experience of writing this book because I watched her up close writing this book and it was quite something to watch."

"Did it in any way parallel your own experience in writing your own book?" I asked.  (Edwards wrote a book — Four Trials — that mentions his son, Wade, and Wade’s death in 1996.  Most of the book, though, is about four cases Edwards worked on as a lawyer.)

"It was very different I think, in part, because she wrote at great length about a lot of the trauma of her life and it had a different impact because of that, so you should ask her about it," Edwards replied.

As noted in the story I wrote today for Radio Iowa about the interview with Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards does not talk in public about the death of his 16-year-old son.  And if you re-read the answers to my questions above, he’s still not talking about it directly. 

It brings to mind something that happened in the summer of 2003.  John Edwards was set to speak to a small group of people gathered in the gazebo in a tiny park in Waukee, Iowa — a western suburb of Des Moines that’s been growing by leaps and bounds.  The mayor of Waukee was introducing Edwards, reading from a bio he’d either been handed or had obtained himself, and the mayor finished his remarks by listening the names of Edwards’ children, and then announcing that his 16-year-old son had died. Without any intervening sentence or explanation, the mayor then announced: "Here’s John Edwards"   

Edwards climbed the steps of the gazebo as the small crowd applauded, and he launching directly into his stump speech.  During that campaign, sometimes during audience Q&A, someone would ask about his son and Edwards would just say he didn’t talk about it in public.  So while Dick Gephardt was talking at length about his son’s near-death experience as a child in nearly every campaign speech, Edwards never mentioned his own son’s death during campaign events.   

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.