#11 Report from Iowa

On January 4, 2008

Congratulations Everybody!

Penny and I are driving home from a productive and memorable three days in Grinnell, IA, the small town home of Penny’s alma mater Grinnell College (she’s a trustee, too.) We canvassed, telephoned, and visited many folks associated with the College as well as a whole lot of strangers.

Barack had the only visible field operation in Grinnell. We never saw evidence of an office for Edwards or Hillary. Our low-rent, unfurnished storefront was purring with activity, led by an impressive 24-year old, Matt LaRocque, whose parents appropriately are Grinnell alumni. Matt was tireless, poised and mature beyond his years, and we willingly took direction from him.

During the hour before the caucuses began last night, we mingled with about 150 Grinnell students who had returned to caucus, even though the College is not yet back in session. They overwhelmingly supported Barack.

Don Smith, the County Democratic Chair, invited us to observe the precinct caucus that he also chairs. We had run into him when canvassing on his block on New Year’s Day, when it was minus 15 degrees wind chill (he is an emeritus professor of history at Grinnell.)

The caucus was a wonderful, if imperfect, demonstration of direct democracy. Don ran an efficient and fair process. It produced amazing and affirming results. This precinct awards more delegates than any of the other more than 1800 precincts in the state.

Barack won 57% of the delegates, more than twice as many as Edwards! It was astonishing that Hillary was not even close to being “viable” and won NO delegates.

As soon as the results from our precinct were official, we made a mad dash to the Obama celebration in Des Moines, 50 miles west. We arrived at the hall just as Barack was delivering his gracious and inspiring speech. The mood of the huge crowd was electric.

We got to bed at 1:30a and awoke today to hear Barack make a speech in New Hampshire. Five days to the next big hurdle.

Thanks to all of you who have supported the cause. This is just a first step, but an incredibly significant one.

More next week.

Please pass it along.

Chuck

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