Doing what Dennis said to do

I checked back with Ed Fallon, the 2004 Democratic gubernatorial candidate who garnered 26 percent support in the primary, just a few moments ago to make sure I had it right.  Yes, he did support Dennis Kucinich for president in 2004.  "I’m doing what Dennis told me to do:  ‘If I’m not viable, support Edwards,’" Fallon joked.  As some of you may recall, the Ohio Congressman and the former North Carolina Senator struck a deal right before the 2004 Iowa Caucuses.  If, after the first test of "delegate strength" at a precinct caucus, Kucinich supporters discovered their candidate was deemed "not viable" at their precinct and they were required to throw their support to another candidate in a second round of "voting," then Kucinch told his supporters to back Edwards. 

Now, back to last night and that Edwards campaign event, where the theme was "Tomorrow Begins Today."  To those who have asked after reading last night’s post, the Kanye West song played before the candidate arrived was "Touch the Sky" and yes, the f-word was edited out. The Elvis song was the remix of "A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please" which was released a couple of years ago.    

After the speech and the "town hall meeting" in the atrium of the State Historical Building, the Edwards campaign folks scrambled to put up a riser in front of the press riser so Edwards could stand there and answer a few questions from reporters.  He had his microphone still clipped to his shirt, but the sound guy did not pot down the sound for a while.  So in answer to the first question (from me): "Are you the front-runner in Iowa?" I hear on the tape Christina Aquilera singing "Ain’t no other man does what you do.  You’re the kind of guy a girl finds so — you’ve got class, you’ve got style.  Yea, yea, yea.  Ain’t no other man, it’s true.  Ain’t no other man but you."  Then, Edwards voice slowly starts being heard under Acuilera.  "Ain’t no other, ain’t ain’t no other," CA sings — while Edwards is saying something like "I have got a lot of friends and loyal supporters in Iowa." 

Then, it’s Edwards all alone on the recording. "And I hope that by speaking my heart and conviction’s in this campaign that will motivate people in Iowa not just to support me but to do the things that need to be done to change this state and this country."

Cannot hear the question, but it’s about Vilsack.

"I’ think he’s a good governor and I think he’ll make a strong candidate," Edwards replied. 

Can you beat Vilsack? (I think that’s Dave Price’s follow-up.).

"That remains to be seend.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to make that decision.  The caucus-goers in Iowa will make that decision so I fully intend to compete in Iowa, I can tell you that."

"How does it fell to be in Iowa?" asked one t.v. guy in the back.

"It feels good to be back in Iowa.  Hasn’t been all that long since I was here but this place is very comfortable to me.  We were making a joke coming in from the airport that I could easily drive myself around this city and could easily drive myself around a big part of Iowa so I know the people here very well."

Price asked a question about skipping Iowa.

"I think anybody that wants to be the Democratic nominee for president needs to compete everywhere.  You’re the nominee for the Democratic Party for the entire country and I would go farther and say that in the general election that candidate needs to compete everywhere because whoever’s elected POTUS is not elected president of the blue states or the red states, he’s elected POTUS and everybody in America needs to be able to see the candidate."

"What’s different this time?" asked KCCI’s Bob Kaple.

"I learned a lot both from the last campaign and what I’ve been doing since then.  I’ve seen when people take things in their own hands what they can do to change America: raising the minimum wage, college for kids, the work I saw in Uganda, organizing workers into unions — all of which the government had virtually nothing to do with but they were doing really good work and secondly, I’ve spent a lot of time overseas which I think has added to the depth of my understanding of what’s happening in the world."

((An aside:  Edwards wove his world travels into all his answers during the "town hall" section fo the meeting, mentioning trips to places like Israel, China and Uganda as well as a private meeting with Tony Blair just before the last G8 summit.  Now, back to the Q&A with reporters…))

A reporter in the back asked "why are you stopping in Iowa" but Edwards couldn’t hear the question and it was repeated for him by a reporter in front.

"Because Iowa’s the first place in the country to decide who the Democratic nominee is for president and for that matter, who the Republican nominee for president, will be and it’s going to play a huge role, as it always does and this is a place that I think I feel like I know very well.  Others?"

"Who gave you the Hawkeye shirt?" I asked.

"The one I talked about?  A friend in North Carolina.  It’s actually the godmother of one of my children who said: ‘I’ve got a feeling you’re going to be spending a little bit of time here, so you ought to have one of the t-shirts.’  Dangerous, though — Iowa versus Iowa State. (Edwards gestured with his hands, indicating the two were worlds apart and laughed.)  Anybody else?"

"Have you thought about a runningmate?" a reporter in back asked.

"I’ve actually, believe it or not, thought about both potential candidates for the cabinet and about potential candidates for runningmate but it would be too far away now to talk about that."

"When will you come back to Iowa?" seems to be the question — hard to hear.

"I don’t know when, but I’ll be back," Edwards replied, as some of the supporters standing around the base of the riser cheered.  "Are we done?"  Edwards then exited, to immediately be cornered by a supporter who said he’s driven two hours to ask Edwards about Iraq — and engaged in a brief discussion with the candidate about what had been said during the "town hall."

The sound guy hit the music. I believe it was Rob Thomas singing what I think is called "Streetcorner Symphony." 

Finally, back to Fallon.  He said during an interview last night that Edwards was "well-organized."  Spell check wanted to change that to "hell-raiser." 

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. Thanks for a good review of JE’s meeting. I am a Dallas, Texan. I like JE’s technique and statements except for that on immigration. He indicated we need to find a way for the 11 M that are here to become citizens. He needs to take time to get to know IA’s and he would understand that a very high % of IA’s came here to earn money…not be become citizens. Over the past 30 years I have known many AI’s and not one has ever said they came to become citizens. Sure after they have been here for years, developed families, etc. citizenship becomes an issure because their children are citizens. But that’s not what they came here for…and that’s not the big issue in solving our immigration problem. The big issue for the AI’s is to be able to work so what we most need to reduce the problem is a work permit program that would allow them to work, go home, come back and work, go home, etc. Mexico (the big majority) is their home..and they love it..and should have the ability to go back and forth without breaking the law. Jerry.

  2. Kay,
    Oh, I thought “well-organized” and “hell raiser” were synonymous. Sorry.