East Des Moines, Iowa, 11:30 a.m. CT: The United Steelworkers Hall smells of smoke. Volunteers wearing blue Steelworkers for Edwards T-shirts are talking on the phone with undecided voters and those who are leaning toward Edwards and letting them know that John Cougar Mellencamp is coming to Iowa to play a concert for him. They read from a script and are careful to ask whether the person they are talking to is planning to attend the caucus for John Edwards. Occasionally I hear them making the pitch for the candidate. "He doesn't take lobbyists' money, but Hillary Clinton takes money from defense contractors," says one college-age volunteer who looks nothing like a steelworker and probably isn't one.
Des Moines, 8 a.m. CT: I've been typing at the Marriott bar waiting for Mike Huckabee to appear on Meet the Press. I've plugged my laptop into the outlet they usually use for the blender to make fruity drinks. Suddenly I find out that the 11 a.m. church service that's on Huckabee's schedule has been cancelled. It was my one chance to catch him all day, so I'd better intercept him on the steps of the television studio. I leave a $20 and head for my car.
There is something called freezing fog in Iowa, and it's wrapped around my car as I speed down the empty streets. Outside WHO-TV, there is a small group of reporters who have the same idea. I have made two key mistakes: I have no gloves and I have a pen. A pencil is called for in this case, because it's so cold my pen ink has frozen. Here is the story I wrote about Huckabee's remarks. (permalink)
Dec. 29, 2007
Dec. 28, 2007
Des Moines, Iowa, 6 p.m. CT: I'm sitting in an enormous sound studio, freezing on a tiny chair and hoping that the earpiece I've punched into my ear doesn't come springing out. I'm on Washington Week in Review talking about what I've seen over the last couple of days. I'm asked if Huckabee is falling? Yes. One of the big questions is how much damage Mitt Romney's ads knocking him are doing, but his supporters are committed, so he might not fall that far. What will I be looking for in the closing days? That last closing statement from all the candidates. Right now, Edwards has the strongest pitch among the Democrats. (permalink)
Drive to Des Moines, Iowa, 11 a.m. ET: The heavy snow and a little scoop about the McCain campaign screwed up my plans for getting to a Hillary event. My wife and I head out from Cedar Rapids too late. She drives so I can type and talk on the phone. Every few miles we pass another discarded truck or car that wiped out in the snow. (permalink)
Dec. 27, 2007