Posted: December 26, 2007 4:51 PM
Despite Bad Weather, Clinton Heads Back to Iowa
The campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., got just what they wanted for Christmas, a new American Research Group poll showing the New York senator with a growing lead over her two main rivals in Iowa.
Thirty-four percent of likely caucus-goers said they planned to support Clinton, followed by 20 percent for Sen. John Edwards and 19 percent for Barack Obama. Bloomberg’s Holly Rosenkrantz noted that, “In a poll taken Dec. 16-19 by the same group, Clinton led with 29 percent to 25 percent for Obama and 18 percent for Edwards.”
After two days of rest to spend the holidays with her family, Sen. Clinton was back and ready to hit the campaign trail hard, but inclement weather and air traffic congestion in New York delayed her flight and plans to make three scheduled appearances in Iowa. Today was to be the launch of her “Big Challenges, Real Solutions — Time To Pick A President” Tour, during which “Hillary Clinton will outline the challenges that Americans face at home and around the world and how her unique background makes her the most qualified person to be the next President of the United States,” according to her campaign. In coming days, Sen. Clinton will be joined by former President Bill Clinton and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as she campaigns throughout Iowa.
The Wall Street Journal today provided a rare glimpse inside the Clinton team. Reporter Monica Langley described campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle: “a 42-year-old daughter of Mexican immigrants who never ran a presidential effort before … trying to re-energize Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.” Solis Doyle earned the affectionate nickname “Latina queena” when she served as White House scheduling director for then-first lady Clinton, and has remained a part of her close-knit circle ever since.
“For the presidential run, Ms. Solis Doyle assembled a campaign team in Arlington, Va., that was heavy on longtime Clinton advisers who had worked together for years. While she sat atop the organization chart, [pollster Mark] Penn, with confidence in his firmly held opinions, took the lead in setting the strategy and message,” Langley writes. “Ms. [Mandy] Grunwald, who has done the Clintons’ commercials for years, became another big player. Also at the top of the hierarchy was Terry McAuliffe, campaign chair, who is close to the Clintons and is a fund-raising machine. For the first several months, the campaign surged on Mr. Penn’s message of “strength and experience,” on robust fund raising (though Mr. Obama raised more at the start) and on endorsements from establishment figures.”
While the Obama campaign has been painted by many as the camp most aggressively courting the youth vote, the Washington Post’s Sridhar Pappu this week profiled 23-year old Clinton field organizer Nicole Vance, who has “spent the last seven months working ungodly hours in this tiny bit of Iowa, living at home with her folks in Altoona, pulling down a little less than $600 a week.”
Vance decided to back Clinton after meeting her at a town hall event in Marshalltown, Iowa while working as an intern for the progressive think tank the Center for American Progress. She now spends her days “in several precincts in West Des Moines, canvassing door-to-door, calling supporters about upcoming events and talking to people who haven’t attended a caucus before.”
Although Vance and the team in Arlington may be buoyed by the ARG poll, there are still eight days and a thousand factors that will decide whether Clinton can emerge from Iowa with a critical early win.