I'm heading to the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. I won't be blogging there, but I will update this post with some highlights when I get home.
If you'd like to watch online, the IDP will be livestreaming the proceedings here, beginning at 6:30 pm central.
Senator Tom Harkin has taped a video greeting for the event, because he's in Washington as the Senate begins to debate the health care reform bill. Democrats have all 60 votes they need to bring the bill to the floor, but several members of the caucus have not ruled out backing a Republican filibuster before the final vote. I won't be supporting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this cycle, because I don't want a penny going to a dishonest tool like Blanche Lincoln. She's probably going to lose anyway.
In addition to any comments about health care reform or the JJ Dinner, please consider this an open thread for anything that's on your mind this weekend.
For comic relief: in the middle of this afternoon's Senate proceedings, Chuck Grassley tweeted,
Can somebody tell me why Wall st Journal no longer list Des Moines in its weather cities list. Iowa still exists
UPDATE: I hadn't been to the JJ dinner in a few years and had a great time. Iowa House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal were making fun of each other when the bucket was passed around for extra donations.
McCarthy: What's the difference between God and a state senator? God doesn't think he's a state senator.
Gronstal: What's the difference between House representatives and boy scouts? Boy scouts have adult supervision.
Speakers: Bruce Braley, Leonard Boswell, Patty Judge, Chet Culver, and Tom Harkin's recorded video before Biden. (Dave Loebsack is out of the country.)
Huge ovation shortly after 8 pm when IDP chair Michael Kiernan came on stage to announce that the U.S. Senate defeated a filibuster of the motion to bring the health care reform bill to the floor, 60-39. Harkin promised in his video that they will get a health care reform bill bassed before the end of the year, and it will contain a public health insurance option.
Biden gave a great speech, with plenty of jokes, Irish poetry, quiet moments and a few lines that got the crowd on their feet. He apologized for being a little late; he had been on the phone with some unnamed senators whose votes he had helped sway on health care reform.
I had to leave right after Biden's speech, so I missed the after-party, where U.S. Senate candidates Bob Krause, Roxanne Conlin and Tom Fiegen were set to speak. If you were there, post a comment or a diary to let us know how those speeches were.
SECOND UPDATE: After the jump I've posted Kiernan's remarks and excerpts from Culver's speech.
FINAL UPDATE: The Iowa Democratic Party posted a slideshow from the event here.