‘Twas the night before Oprah…

Oprah Winfrey is due in Iowa tomorrow (Saturday) to appear at two campaign rallies for her presidential pick — Barack Obama.  The Clinton campaign launched a counter offensive tonight — the debut of Clinton’s elderly mother on the campaign trail.  It was sort of like take-your-mom-to-work day for HRC.

Hillary Clinton took her mom to a Des Moines school lunch room earlier this evening for a campaign rally.  Clinton had been in Des Moines East High School in January on her "announcement tour" and the crowd back then was so large — in the thousands — that there was an overflow room.  Tonight’s crowd was in the hundreds, most of them Clinton Caucus-goers.

The candidate was over half an hour late, so we reporters had plenty of time to note and digest the special announcement around six o’clock.  It seems someone had lost a set of keys on a chain with charms for both PetCo and Aerosmith.  A pet lover who also loves the bad boys from Boston was to be reunited with their keys.

Soon, though, Clinton came on stage with her 88-year-old mother, Dorothy Rodham. Unlike John McCain’s aged mother, Mrs. Rodham did not speak a word but stood while her daughter told a story about a family trip to Iowa and a stay in the "Tall Corn Motel."  HRC remembered it had a pool.  She did not reveal where the Tall Corn was located.  I know there is a Tall Corn Motel in Shenandoah, Iowa, which is in the far southwest corner of the state.  That would have been a mighty long drive from Illinois for the Rodham foursome. (UPDATE:  Alert reader Dave mentions the existence of a Tall Corn Motel in Marshalltown, Iowa. "Much more plausible for the Rodhams," he suggests.)

Here is the Radio Iowa story of tonight’s event.  (You can listen to the 19 minute mp3 of the event — there’s aclickable link at the bottom of the story.)

After Clinton’s speech, she introduced two Caucus buddies.  One was a woman, a Democrat who had never Caucuses before.  The other was a man — a Republican! — who drew strong applause from the crowd with his hearty endorsement of Clinton.

It’s all part of the buddy system the Clinton campaign has been stressing in the run up to the Caucuses, an effort to get Clinton backers to the Caucuses two-by-two.  Clinton tonight made a special pitch to people to buddy up with women her mother’s age who are hoping to get to Caucus — but may have some difficulty getting there under their own power.

"I feel like I’m been in Iowa enough I ought to be able to Caucus," she said after her Republican male backer had urged the crowd to Caucus because Clinton couldn’t.  After the buddy moment was over, the event was, too.  No questions from the crowd.  But Clinton did linger for longer than her actual time on stage to shake hands and visit with people from the crowd. 

Jeff Zeleny from The New York Times blogged tonight’s event, as did Ben Smith of The Politico.

Oh, and I did not forget the verse: 

‘Twas the night before Oprah

I’m clicking my mouse

Writing this blog post

Not driving to my house.

The blogging all done with haste but good care

I know every moment my muse will be there.

Out on the trail there’s been quite a clatter

Will any of it work?  We’ll see what does matter.

(That’s it.  I’m stopping, getting in the sleigh and going home for a good winter’s nap.)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. Darrell Jordan says

    You have got to be kidding me, Oprah in politics, when will it stop. Bottom line her candidate would not even be a Senator if were not for a sex scandal in Illinois the year he was elected; for that political race was neck and neck till his campaign smeared the other campaign over items in a divorce decree which were made public and then there was no one to run on the republican side. Is that experience 4 years in the Senate, give me a break. So why don’t we just find some post graduate and add a few talk show host to the mix and elect someone else who doesn’t know what they are doing. That’s like hiring my 12th grader to run IBM.