Reading Material in Dodd HQ

Reading Material

I took this picture inside our phone banking room in the Des Moines HQ. Amidst copies of the Des Moines Register, call logs, talking points, fact sheets of Chris Dodd's record of results and lots of empty coffee cups, I saw a print out of Blue Hampshire co-founder Mike Caulfield's endorsement post.

People often ask what the value of blogger endorsements is and I think this is evidence of it. Mike's argument in support of Chris Dodd, like that made by many other bloggers, is a thoughtful presentation of why Democrats should support Dodd's candidacy. It's exactly the sort of thing that volunteers and field staff find useful when talking to voters here in Iowa. Beyond that, it's great to have the encouragement of someone writing outside the campaign to pick you up in the midst of a long phone banking session.

Today, I'm heading on the road to cover Senator Dodd's events in Waterloo at one of my favorite restaurants in all of Iowa, Steamboat Gardens. From there, I'll head with the Senator to Dubuque for our campaign's New Year's Eve event.

I'll be staying on the road on New Year's Day to cover events in Cedar Rapids and a few other stops. I'll be posting videos and pictures from the road, as well as writing about the events as the Dodd campaign heads into the new year and towards the Iowa caucus on January 3rd.

Stay tuned for more updates from Iowa on the Dodd Blog.

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Biden picks up two more legislator endorsements

Potential sleeper candidate Joe Biden picked up two more state legislator endorsements this morning.  From a Biden for President campaign release:

“Today, Sen. Joe Biden received endorsements from two key Iowa elected officials.  State Representatives Dennis Cohoon of Burlington and Eric Palmer of Oskaloosa become the 15th and 16th Iowa State legislators to endorse Sen. Biden.  

“I am supporting Sen. Biden because he’s the most prepared to be president from Day One,” said Rep. Cohoon.  “And as a high school special education teacher for thirty years, I know Sen. Biden can accomplish the education reforms we need to get kids in preschool earlier and give them the opportunity to go to college.”

Rep. Palmer stressed Sen. Biden’s experience in world affairs and his commitment to civil rights: “The Des Moines Register talked about knowledge and experience in their endorsement. To me Joe Biden exhibits real knowledge and experience in foreign affairs and his understanding of the constitution, both qualities not exhibited by this White House.  As Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, I am particularly impressed with Sen. Biden’s expertise in constitutional law, which will be critical to getting America back on track.””

Like the release says, that brings his endorsement total to 16.  And trust me, that’s a lot in the state legislator race and puts him just behind Clinton and Obama.  That bodes well for Biden in terms of organization and contacts.  State legislators have strong local connections that help them get elected in the first place.  Their opinion matters if nothing more than to help Iowans pick a solid second choice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these endorsements aren’t going to catapult Joe Biden into the top three.  But they could help him a lot.  If any of the three front-runners do poorly in terms of rural organizing or see troubles in viability, Joe Biden could see a boost.  And with his Iraq policy and seriousness he still captures Iowans’ attention to at least listen to him.  The question is what kind of crowd will show up to the caucuses on January 3rd.

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Iowa SoS endorses Clinton

I’m not sure why this story wasn’t reported more or that no one was really covering this event, but it looks like Iowa Secretary of State Mike Mauro has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

“Mauro made his announcement Wednesday at an event in Des Moines, according to a Clinton campaign statement. He says the New York senator stands out among the other candidates and doesn’t have a “learning curve.”

Mauro says no one is more qualified or ready to lead than Clinton.”

This isn’t that big of a deal for Clinton’s campaign, but it is worthwhile to note that Clinton now has an elected statewide Democrat supporting her candidacy.

That means that Gov. Culver and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge are the only statewide elected Democrats not endorsing someone.  Iowa State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller have endorsed Barack Obama.

I’m not sure if there are any other major Iowa endorsements left, but things are really beginning to get locked up now.  Two weeks out and we’re down to the field game.  

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More endorsements for Obama

This morning, the Iowa City Press-Citizen endorsed Barack Obama for president.  They wrote:

“Obama has the right vision for a new national politics and a new global reputation. He now needs voters and supporters who will help him transform that vision into reality. It’s a transformation that should have started three years ago. Neither the nation nor the world can wait any longer.”

It is a pretty well-written endorsement which also highlights the positives of the other Democratic candidates and specifically looks at restoring America’s image abroad and here at home.

While I disagree with their analysis on Obama’s healthcare proposal, I think that discussion of the issue is an important step to truly making universal healthcare a priority point of discussion in American politics.

On the Republican side, with only two Republican candidate visits to Johnson County’s paper of record, the editorial staff went with Mike Huckabee over Ron Paul.

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Who will the Register endorse?

UPDATE: As I predicted, they chose Clinton. I had a feeling they would go with the choice of most of the Des Moines business elite.-desmoinesdem

The speculation is swirling and the rumor mill is working at full force today as the Des Moines Register is set to endorse a candidate in their Sunday edition–which will likely be revealed later tonight.

As Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post notes here it is a pretty big deal.  Jeff Zeleny, Register alum and now New York Times reporter, describes the effort of some campaigns to win the endorsement here.

Here’s a sample of some of what’s being said right now.  Ben Smith at the Politico says:

“But I hesitate to predict: Newspaper endorsements are notoriously neurotic, and driven by internal dynamics and the writers’ image of themselves as much as by anything easily predictable.”

I’m not sure how true that is at the Register, but I’ve been trying to work sources in the newsroom and all I know is that the Democrats have been fighting hard for the endorsement.

Marc Ambinder says the endorsement will drop soon:

“….probably in the early evening… and no one knows who… although all the campaigns have guesses, and at least one of them has an office pool.”

I know most of the campaigns will have folks down at Register HQ trying to get the first early copy and report back as soon as they can.

And finally, the biggest gossip so far, comes from the Hotline:

“Buzz is that the odds are with Barack Obama…

The paper’s support for John Edwards in 2004 catapulted him to a second place caucus finish. This year, though, he competes for the nod with a ‘fresher’ face in Obama.

Obama’s anti-war position could be the deal sealer. Edwards supported the 2002 Iraq war resolution, but has since said the vote was a mistake.”

They’re the only ones predicting so far…at least that I can find.  So, consider that a bold prediction.

I won’t make any predictions or offer any odds.  But how about you guys?  Who do you think will get the endorsement?  All I’ll guess is that it will be one of the top tier candidates: Clinton, Edwards, or Obama.  Vote below the fold.

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I'm Caucusing for John Edwards

Cross-posted at Political Forecast.

Well, now that we’re less than three weeks out from the Iowa Precinct Caucuses, it is time for me to make a tough decision: Who am I going to caucus for?

After watching the debates, attending events, reading the profiles, and listening to my friends I decided that it was time to face the tough decision.  Our field of Democratic candidates is an amazing spectrum of leadership, experience, and real desire for change.  I would be proud to call any of these candidates our nominee.

Why did I hold off so long in making my decision?  There were numerous reasons, but the primary one was that I wanted to make sure I was going to remain unbiased for as long as possible in my coverage of the candidates and to maintain a level of openness on both Political Forecast and Bleeding Heartland.  But the time has truly come to pick a candidate.  And for me, the candidate of choice is John Edwards.

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