and anyone asks me how she did it, I will point them to this recent article in the New York Times. Yes, Hillary’s got a lot of advantages: she raised a ton of money, she’s hired a huge Iowa staff (approximately 400 people), she’s got a former two-term governor and former two-term president campaigning for her.
But there are smart ways and dumb ways to spend money. Reading this article, I was impressed with some of her campaign’s tactics.
We Iowans joke about how there’s always a presidential candidate willing to pour us coffee, take out the trash and shovel our snow. But Hillary’s precinct captains really are going to shovel snow for her supporters:
Mrs. Clinton’s office here is filled with hundreds of new green snow shovels that were being strategically distributed on Saturday to precinct captains to clear the walks of older women who might be particularly wary of going out to the caucuses in bad weather. The campaign has printed doorknob hangers with caucus locations printed in extra-large type, also to accommodate these older first-time caucusers.
The article talks about microtargeting methods that both the Clinton and Obama campaigns have been using. That’s not surprising, but I thought this was truly a master stroke:
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, in the first mailing to first-time caucusgoers who pledge to support her, includes porcelain lapel pins identifying them as Clinton supporters. Mrs. Clinton looks for women wearing those pins at her events and praises them for caucusing for the first time.
What a great idea. A lot of women will wear that lapel pin, and it’s an easy way for Hillary to spot first-time caucus-goers in a crowd. I would think that once someone has been singled out and thanked by Hillary, she would feel an extra obligation to show up on caucus night.
It is not easy to turn out thousands of people who have never caucused before. Hillary’s not my first, second or third choice, but if she can pull this off, her campaign deserves a lot of credit.
The article also alludes to Clinton campaign plans to have caterers bring food to serve to her supporters at pre-caucus parties on the caucus sites. Nate Willems suggested that was treading close to the vote-buying line and sparked an interesting discussion at MyDD tonight.
Finally, a quick question for Bleeding Heartland readers. The NY Times article quotes Michael Whouley, who came to Iowa last time to help with John Kerry’s field operation. It identified him as “a veteran Iowa caucus organizer, who is supporting Mrs. Clinton but is one of the few major Democratic strategists who have not come to Iowa for this fight.”
I thought I heard somewhere that Whouley was in Iowa to help the Clinton campaign. Anyone know if he’s been here?
UPDATE: Another thing money can buy is two minutes of television during the 6 pm newscasts in Iowa. Here is her final pitch. I think it hits the themes she needs to emphasize, but I am not convinced it will bring over a lot of undecided voters: