Clinton & Clinton in Iowa

Former President Bill Clinton spent a little less than 10 minutes speaking this evening (his wife spoke about four times that long).  The two Clintons appeared on the same stage in Iowa tonight.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story.

Media It was hard to judge the size of the crowd based on the way things were laid out on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  Bleachers were set up right in front of the west entrance to the Agriculture Building.  Yes, that’s the building where the butter cow sculpture is housed during the State Fair.  (One wiseacre suggested the Clintons were late because Bill had a loaf of bread and was testing the butter.  If he had been, he would have found it rancid.  Yes, sculptor Duffy Lyons does use some of the butter that’s left over from one year to the next.)

In front of the bleachers, there was a big stage  — just about where you would hop onto the Clearfield Lion’s Club shuttle during the duration of the Fair.  The rest of the crowd was spread out on the street and on the grassy triangular area to the west of the Agriculture Building — where you would find the Junior Donut stand and a variety of other stands offering caloric foodstuffs during the Fair.

[Terry James, a newly-hired Learfield Communications reporter who will be the news director of the Nebraska Radio Network, was in town for the event and took some snaps. The one above shows the bank of television cameras and assorted media people on the press riser.]

It was on this stage that Mr. and Mrs/President and Senator Clinton appeared about an hour after they had been billed to appear.  The crowd was treated to some campaign tunes during the wait, including "Life is a Highway" (the Rascal Flats version) about four times, plus a little Police and Shania Twain thrown in, so the Clinton campaign is trying to find a connection with the "country" crowd (that would be "country" as in "I was country when country wasn’t cool").  But when the Clintons walked on stage, they played the Hillary Clinton campaign theme song — Celine Dion’s "You and I."  It has a few strange lyrics, such as  "brighter than the sun and darker than the night….If I could travel across the world the secrets I would tell." Perhaps the secrets would reveal how something is simultaneously bright and dark. 

Ruth Harkin took the stage with the Clintons and offered up her endorsement of Senator Clinton.  As you may recall, Senator Harkin endorsed Tom Vilsack last December.  No word on Senator Harkin’s pick among the people still in the race.  I’m guessing Harkin wants to select someone who will not leave him holding the candidate’s jacket on Caucus Night while the candidate lets loose with a yell heard ’round the world. (Harkin, who endorsed Howard Dean, was holding Dean’s jacket during the infamous scream.)

I must also mention that when the Clintons came into the spotlight, one of the wags in the media area declared: "They look like a fruit salad." The former president was in a yellow shirt and the New York senator was in a kind of watermelon-colored top and jacket.  A former Vilsack aide who was in the audience (this person is non-affiliated right now) suggested the Clintons had looked "refreshing" in their "summer colors." 

One final thought, in hopes of posting this before midnight (was unable to blog from the site):  both Clintons made a point of telling the audience Bill Clinton had not competed in the 1992 Iowa Caucuses because Tom Harkin was running that year.    

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About O.Kay Henderson

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