HRC entertaining Iowans in DC

Former First Lady Hillary Clinton has started making the kind of prelimary moves that then-Texas Governor George W. Bush did in 1998 and ’99.  Bush waited ’til the first weekend of June in 1999 to officiallly declare himself a candidate.  Aboard the plane dubbed by W and staff as "Great Expectations," Bush flew into Cedar Rapids for an event in Amana to formally kick-off his campaign.  He flew on to Des Moines where he appeared at a huge event on the Iowa State Fairgrounds featuring Bush family friend Hayden Fry, the former Iowa footbal coach.

Before that, Bush laid the groundwork by inviting Iowans onto his turf in Texas — out of the media spotlight — so he could woo potential supporters.  It appears Senator Clinton intends to employ a  bit of that private strategy next week as she has invited a group of Iowans to have dinner with her in Washington, DC on December 12th.  Former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer says he was invited, but cannot go.  Sources indicate Clinton intends to vist Iowa sometime early next year.

Couple to watch:  former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell ran for governor in 1994 and lost, then was hired by the Clinton Adminsitration to start an office within the US Dept of Justice created to focus federal attention on violence against women.  She was a confidant of the president.  Sources tell me she had a weekly meeting with Clinton himself; Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in the Clinton adminsitration.  She and her husband Ed moved back in Iowa a couple of years ago.  Last month Governor-elect Chet Culver asked her to handle the transition.  Ed Campbell is the former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman who has had an uncanny ability to pick presidential nominees.  In 1992, Ed Campbell picked Bil Clinton early on when few others knew Clinton or expected him to win. 

Sources indicate Senator Clinton may visit Iowa early next year.  Clinton’s last visit to Iowa was in November of 2003.  She served as the emcee for the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson/Jackson Day Dinner.  She didn’t give a long speech although Clinton did describe the event as a cross between a religious revival and a WWF event. She was the who introduced the Democrats who were running for president in 2004 to the crowd.  The next day, however, hundreds stood in line at a West Des Moines bookstore to get her autograph on a copy of her book.  (Radio Iowa story)  Former President Bill Clinton served as the keynote speaker at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner this past October. (Radio Iowa story)  There were Hillary placards posted outside the banquet hall, and volunteers passed out Hillary ’08 stickers.  In his speech that night, President Clinton told the crowd (and reporters) to "Forget about 2008."   I’m guessing that won’t be the edict as those Iowans sit around the Clinton dinner table next week.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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