Weekend left-overs

Here’s a few observations from the past weekend of campaigning:

* Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines) doesn’t endorse a presidential candidate until after they’ve secured the party’s nomination, so that lets him invite all the would-be nominees to do fundraisers for him.  This past weekend New York Senator Hillary Clinton did a fundraiser for Boswell.  Boswell’s wife, Dodie (pronounced DOH-dee), warmed up the crowd before Clinton got there with a little singing.  Dodie Boswell sang the song "I Feel the Earth Move Under my Feet."  Several verses.  For a refresher, the Carole King lyrics are after the jump, plus a few other choice moments from the past weekend:

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Ooh, baby, when I see your face
Mellow as the month of May
Oh, darling, I can’t stand it
When you look at me that way

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Oh, darling, when you’re near me
And you tenderly call my name
I know that my emotions
Are something I just can’t tame
I’ve just got to have you, baby

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I just lose control
Down to my very soul
I get a hot and cold all over
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down,
Tumbling down, tumbling down…

**Boswell drove Hillary Clinton to the event — in a semi.  I am not making this up.  You can watch the video over on Ben Smith’s blog.  I’ve asked if Boswell has a commercial drivers license. No word on that yet.  Boswell spokeswoman Susan McAvoy emailed at 1:33 pm central to say that Boswell has a CDL.

**Clinton’s first event on Saturday was held in the gymnasium of a middle school in Marshalltown.  A banner on the wall declared it "The Home of the Bobkits."  Bobkits apparently graduate junior high to become  Bobcats when they enter Marshalltown High School. 

*"He’ll do anything I ask him to do," Senator Clinton said in response to an audience member’s question about what role her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would have in a Hillary Clinton Administration.  She suggested her husband’s contacts around the globe would make him the perfect person to try to repair relationships with other countries which she argues have been fractured during the Bush Administration.  "I can’t think of a better cheerleader for American than Bill Clinton, can you?" Senator Clinton asked the crowd, which then applauded for 10 seconds.

**The final question came from a teenager in the audience, who asked what her approach would be to countries like Iran and North Korea.  During her answer, Senator Clinton said she believes in "patient diplomacy."  She also brought up the Virginia Tech killings.  No one in the audience brought VA Tech up, BTW.

**On Friday night, Bill Richardson made an appeal to the Polk County Democrats who gathered out at the state fairgrounds to see a few of their presidential hopefuls.  "Let’s not make this about who’s the biggest rock star, although Biden and I are moving up there," Richardson said, joking with the crowd.  Many laughed.  Richardson, Biden and Edwards all spoke to the crowd.  "Keep your powder dry," Richardson said, in his direct appeal to the Democrats in the audience. 

**After his remarks to the crowd on Friday night, Edwards walked out of the Walnut Center on the fairgrounds and answered a few questions from reporters.  As background, you need to know that the Rocky Mountain News has established a Des Moines bureau (link here) because the Democratic National Convention will be held in Denver, Colorado, in 2008 and the paper is expanding its coverage of the road to the convention. .

"Senator, I’m Michael Sprengelmeyer, Des Moines bureau chief of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, so we’ll see you in Denver for the party," Sprengelmeyer said to Edwards.

"You have a bureau in Des Moines?" Edwards asked, and started laughing.

"For 10 days, we’ll be here for another 9 months," Sprengelmeyer continued.

"You’re here for the presidential campaigning," Edwards said, laughing some more.

"I am, but let me ask you a question.  I’ve covered a lot of these speeches and it’s still in the early stage and the candidates keep taking these glancing blows at each other, not naming each other, when they’re saying things ‘Who has a specific plan on health care?’ ‘Who doesn’t?’ ‘Who has the specifics on Iraq?’ ‘Who doesn’t?’  On those two particular topics, would you like to say which of your fellow competitors’ plans aren’t specific enough for you?" Sprengelmeyer asked.

"On health care?" Edwards replied.

"On health care and Iraq," Sprengelmeyer said.

"As far as I know, no one else has a plan, unless they have a plan that I don’t know about," Edwards said.

"On Iraq, tell me about how you do evaluate the plans of some of the other competitors, including Biden who’s in there tonight. (Biden was scheduled to speak after Edwards.)  He’s going to be speaking about his plan.  It’s a little bit more specific than some of the others.  What do you think about the various plans and his plan?"

"Well, I think about a couple of things, I’ve talked about mostly, I’ve talked about it tonight.  I think America needs to be leaving Iraq.  We ought to be getting our combat troops out in a little less than a year, engaging the Iranians and the Syrians for obvious reasons and having a plan for maintaining a presence in the region, which some people don’t like but all those things I think are important components and I can’t honestly tell you that I know every detail of all the other candidates’ proposals about that."

**Barack Obama spoke to the Iowa Citizen Action Network’s convention in Urbandale late Saturday afternoon.  ICAN’s political director Amy Logsdon says they’d invited Obama to speak way before he announced he was running for president, because of his background as a community organizer in Chicago.  One irony of the meeting site was that it was in suburban Des Moines, in a fast-growing part of Urbandale that is built on a former corn field. It’s the kind of urban sprawl that some of the ICAN members criticize. 

**A side-note from Obama’s Saturday afternoon interview with Radio Iowa.  I have the text of his answer to a question below.  What is highlighted is something to watch.  Will Obama’s past as a "community organizer" make his campaign more adept at identifying potential supporters and getting them to the Caucuses?  Only time will tell, but you can read about the kind of detail work — making people get "tickets" to events as a means of ensuring they’re registered to vote — that is crucial in a Caucus state.

"I started off as a community organizer and the reason I did was because I really think that in America  change happens from the bottom up, not the top down," Obama said in that Radio Iowa interview.  "There are very few instances in our history where somebody in power says, ‘You know what?  We should make life a little bit easier for ordinary people.’  That’s not how it has worked.  People had to mobilize in order to get slavery abolished.  Women had to mobilize in order to get the right to vote.  The civil rights movement, you know, had to break down the door to give African Americans full citizenship.  Unions had to fight every inch of the way in order to get minimum wage and overtime — a lot of the benefits that workers take for granted and it’s no different now.  What I’ve always said is that when the American people don’t pay attention to politics and they just leave it to the professionals in Washington, all kinds of mischief happens and when they are paying attention, the system still allows for them to hold people accountable and for them to actually get some stuff done but it’s been a long time since we’ve had that kind of energy and activism.  The most promising thing about this election is that you’re starting to see it happen. Last week in Atlanta we had 20,000 people show up for a rally.  Forty percent of the people who attended weren’t registered to vote or hadn’t been active in the political process.  We know that because they had to get tickets ahead of time and we registered them when they got tickets and so if you’ve got all those new people paying attention to politics in a way that they haven’t before, I think that that will shake up Washington and it needs to be shaken up."

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About O.Kay Henderson

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