Iowa at ground level | Arkansas Blog

Iowa at ground level

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I"ve mentioned that my daughter Martha, 28 on Jan. 16, took a week off from her investment banking job in New York to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Iowa. A note from her this morning captures a bit of the flavor of Iowa campaigning. You can check it out on the jump.

ALSO: While we're on the subject, here's an interesting CBS analysis on the battle for the new soul of the Republican Party and a looming brokered convention.

 
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Starting a little bit late today since the market is open, but I am about to head to HQ (in an office park near I-235 and the Embassy Suites hotel) for today's marching orders. All the candidates are finishing tonight in Des Moines and throwing New Year's Eve parties, so downtown should be even more packed than usual. There's a pack of hip restaurants downtown -- Centro, Azalea, Dos Rios -- which are full every night until 12:30 or 1 am with campaign staff.
 
The entire state is absolutely overrun. In Marshalltown, we ran into two Obama volunteers on the same blocks we were walking. One wouldn't talk to us, the other referred to us snidely as "Clinton Girls." We told him we were Clinton Women, thankyouverymuch.

In general, the Obama volunteers are kind of hostile - I ran into an old college friend at Centro who is down here for a couple weeks, like me, except working for Obama. His friends actually booed me when I told them I was working for Hillary. I said, "you know, we're all going to be on the same team in a few months -- and it's a high-class problem to have such a good field of candidates to pick from." That sort of smoothed things over.

Haven't run into any Huckaboosters yet, but Edwards and Paul volunteers have been very nice. The old hands, who've worked campaigns before, don't seem to snark at each other. But there are so many out-of-state volunteers like me who have parachuted in for the final push and we all seem to take things more personally.
 
Iowans are incredibly friendly and patient -- they often invite us into their homes and listen to us go on and on about Hillary and Chelsea, and they put up with our intrusions into their lunches and dinners, sometimes even feeding us in the process. In Iowa City, we entered a home and the wife told us the puddles of water on the floor were from the boots of Edwards volunteers who had been by an hour before! She and her husband are both leaning toward Hillary, which made us happy; incredibly, her husband is going to go caucus even though he has been waiting for a liver for six years and is very ill.

I met an engaging women who is also supporting Hillary and, at 75, is going to caucus for the first time. She offered me some of the venison in her freezer, and told me about how her 13-year-old hound, Brownie, brings her rabbits and squirrel. (Brownie is pregnant for the first time, at age 13.) She and her husband have 8 kids in total - 2 from their first marriage to each other, 4 from subsequent marriages to other people, and 2 from their second marriage to each other. She was a sparkplug.
 
Will try to send some more pictures today -- I have my Hill's Angels poster in the window of my rental car, and am drinking coffee out of my "I Stand With Hillary" mug (apparently already in great demand).

-- Martha Brantley

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