Seven Days Before Caucus Night and …

Lynda Waddington

The second in the series of Lynda Waddington's daily reports from Iowa during the run-up to the caucuses on January 3rd.

Our correspondent in Iowa, Lynda Waddington, brings us on the ground scoop about what is happening in the final days of the campaign. These snippets are intended only to give local flavor, see the rest of our election coverage for SRH perspective. 

… volunteers from across the nation are telling Iowans to scoot over and make room.

The campaign for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson sent an email to supporters, announcing the influx of "Richardson Roadrunners" in the state. According to the email, hundreds of volunteers left New Mexico Wednesday morning in order to volunteer for the campaign in the final sprint to caucus night.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign announced "Hill's Angels," individuals who will travel to communities the day prior to the candidate's arrival to meet with supporters and volunteers.

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Over the past few weeks, many undecided caucus-goers received letters from people around the nation who are supporting former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. The people writing and the recipients had never met, but the out-of-staters wanted to stress the importance of the caucus and their belief that Edwards will make the best choice on caucus night.

The campaign for Arizona Sen. John McCain was requesting volunteers to help at their offices in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina in the first week of November: "Can you invest eight weeks of your time to make history?"

While these are only four examples of the outreach being conducted by the campaigns, they are indicative of how the next best thing to being an Iowan during caucus season is influencing an Iowan during caucus season.

… candidate spouses are making the rounds.

President Bill Clinton is tooling around the state on behalf of his wife's campaign on a "Big Challenges, Real Solutions Tour — Time To Pick a President." For the most part, he's visiting smaller communities in Iowa. On Wednesday he made stops in Mount Pleasant, Muscatine and Solon. Today he is scheduled to visit Adel, Spencer, Arnolds Park, Emmetsburg and Algona — if the newly arrived snow doesn't interfere.

Elizabeth Edwards is the focus of a new television ad in Iowa and continues to tour the state on behalf of her husband. In addition, Michelle Obama kicked off another 3-day tour of the state in Newton Wednesday. Jeri Thompson can often be seen beside her husband on the campaign trail and Ann Romney continues to be one of former Massachusetts Governor's key surrogates.

Of course, Jackie Dodd and her two daughters have moved into the state of Iowa for the duration. Jill Biden is in the state more often these days since her full-time teaching job in Delaware is out on holiday break. Barbara Richardson continues to make the rounds at Iowa house parties, primarily in the more rural counties.

… Iowa veterans are buzzing about the former co-chairman of Clinton's Iowa Veterans' Committee defecting in order to back Obama. Army veteran Kent Sovern of Des Moines said in a prepared statement that he believes Obama "has the judgment and courage to stand up for America's veterans and find a responsible way to get our combat troops out of Iraq."

Circle of Friends for American Veterans is holding a rally in Cedar Rapids for homeless veterans tonight. Many campaigns are sending surrogates who are veterans to the event and Iowans are wondering if Sovern will make an appearance on behalf of Obama.

… Iowan Democrats, many of whom have been less than pleased with the race's front runners, are beginning serious discussions about banding together on caucus night in "uncommitted" groupings. That is, if their chosen candidate does not have support necessary to continue to the second realignment stage (usually 15 percent), instead of joining with one of the existing candidates who are viable, the individuals would form a new group of people who give no candidate preference.

Many are wondering if the supporters for Richardson, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich will have the numbers to keep their candidates in the running. However, if the supporters from each of those four candidates can agree to stand together as uncommitted, it could very well be that one of the perceived top three could come out of Iowa with much less than expected.

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