The campaign staff for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were surprised by the organization and turnout of the Sen. Barack Obama campaign at this weekend’s Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa. “The Clinton people were treating it like a coronation. We saw it as an opportunity to show them what we can do,” says an Obama adviser.
Obama’s campaign coordinated buses from four different parts of the state to get more than 3,000 of their supporters to the dinner in Des Moines. The Democrat party estimated total attendance at the event at about 9,000. The Obama crowd was enthusiastic and privately ridiculed the new slogan of the Clinton campaign, “Turn Up the Heat,” which Clinton had printed on banners and T-shirts for supporters.
“The Obama campaign has been ‘Fired Up’ here for months,” said one Obama supporter. “You’d think a campaign like that would know what’s what.”
MITT AND MIKE
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney‘s campaign in Iowa is getting nervous about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee‘s efforts there. While doubts remain about Huckabee’s organization in-state, Romney’s own state polling now shows Huckabee within single digits of his lead in the state. “We’re going to have to go on the offensive against him,” says a Romney supporter in Iowa.
The media may take care of that for Romney, as well as the other candidates. Huckabee associates in Arkansas have noted at marked increase in out of state reporters nosing around Little Rock and elsewhere in the state. Rolling Stone magazine as well as Los Angeles Times reporters have been sifting through state records and interviewing long-time political allies and adversaries of Huckabee there.
“It just shows that he’s a top tier candidate now,” says a Huckabee associate in Washington. “It’s all good if they’re paying attention to him.”
RUDY’S THIN REEDS
Televangelist Pat Robertson‘s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani is creating a host of problems for the man who once sought the Republican nomination himself. According to sources inside the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), supporters of Robertson are angry at the decision to support a man who is avowedly pro-choice and has been supportive of gay marriage and civil unions.
“We had no warning about his decision,” says a senior official with Regent University, the school Robertson founded. “It has placed in a difficult position of trying to explain how a man of God could support a man who at the very least is at odds with his church, and is very likely not in good standing with his church.”
It also has put Robertson’s long time associate, Jay Sekulow, in an awkward position. Sekulow, who as chief counsel, has been the face of the American Center for Law and Justice for Robertson has been serving as a senior adviser to Giuliani’s competitor, Mitt Romney.
“Some of us assumed that with Jay’s involvement, Romney was a stronger candidate for Pat’s support,” says a senior attorney for the ACLJ. “But this just highlights how odd this election cycle is.”
Robertson isn’t the only well-known evangelical doing work for Giuliani, according to campaign insiders. Longtime conservative activist and former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed, who sought the lieutenant governorship of Georgia and lost in the wake of his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has been assisting the former New York mayor. In 2006, Giuliani made appearances and helped with fundraising for Reed.
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