Iowa Democrats Ready For Hillary

She hasn't even announced a campaign yet, but supporters in the early caucus state are gearing up for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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Jim Young / REUTERS

Hillary Clinton in Des Moines, Iowa, January 3, 2008.

In 2008, Iowa Democrats rejected Hillary Clinton to propel a freshman senator to the White House. This time, they can’t wait to jump aboard the Clinton train.

An overwhelmingly female crowd of nearly 100 gathered in Des Moines on Friday morning to help pave the way for Clinton’s as-yet-unannounced 2016 candidacy. The event, organized by the pro-Hillary women’s group EMILY’s List, was pegged — only half-jokingly — as the kickoff for Clinton’s campaign.

“Is she here?” asked EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, laughing.

While the former secretary of state wasn’t there in person, her presence hung over the gathering, like it has over the entire Democratic contest. It took one panel discussion participant, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, less than 60 seconds to bring her up.

“We have to have millions of people engaged and ready for what will be the pivotal race in America’s history,” McCaskill said. “And that is about getting everyone excited now for what I hope will be that moment in 2017 when we all get to say ‘Madam President’ to Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

McCaskill was the Obama supporter in 2008 who famously said she wouldn’t trust her daughter near former President Bill Clinton, and who in recent months has been working to repair her relationship with the Clintons.

As the failed 2008 campaign showed, the Clintons have few ties to Iowa compared to other early states like New Hampshire; Bill Clinton didn’t compete in the 1992 caucuses because favorite son Sen. Tom Harkin was seeking the nomination. And Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign demonstrated an initial unwillingness to go all-in in the state. After a the release of a memo outlining ways she could skip Iowa, Clinton’s team doubled down in the state, but it was too late. Clinton placed third in the 2008 caucuses, finishing with 29.5 percent, behind then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 37.6 percent and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards’ 29.8 percent.

McCaskill said she’s answered complaints that she supported Obama over Clinton for the last six years, saying, “It’s not like I’m voting for a good ‘ol boy.” But now, she said, Iowa Democrats have the opportunity to “make history twice in a row.”

Iowa is just one of two states — along with Mississippi — that has never elected a woman to Congress or governor. But an EMILY’s List poll in April found Iowa Democrats to be more willing to vote for a woman for president than Democrats in other battleground states.

“There is no doubt that President Obama set the bar pretty high for how Democrats run their caucus campaigns — a true grassroots organization with momentum and energy that got people excited,” Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan said. “I think Iowa Democrats look forward to doing the same type of work in 2014 and 2016, whether it’s behind Hillary or any other Democratic candidate. Iowans know that building a strong volunteer organization that connects young people, women and minorities is key to paving the way to the White House. No one should ever take Iowa Democrats for granted.”

A July poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found Clinton has a 59-percentage-point lead in the Hawkeye State over Vice President Joe Biden, with 71 percent of potential Democratic caucus-goers supporting her.

Republicans are already downplaying her strength in the state.

“Hillary will have to do a lot more than I think she’s going to be willing to do to win,” said David Kochel, a GOP consultant who ran Mitt Romney’s Iowa campaign last year. “She’s never been a real fan of Iowa if you believe the inside reporting from 2008 and Bill Clinton never ran in a caucus. It will leave a wide-open opportunity for someone willing to run a Santorum-style, or Jimmy Carter-style effort here. Yes, she’s the frontrunner, but Iowa is built to put dents in frontrunners.”

Because of Clinton’s influence, no potential 2016 Democratic hopefuls have visited the state since last November’s election, compared to a long roster of Republican aspirants who have trekked here. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be in Clear Lake, Iowa next week for the North Iowa Wing Ding — an annual Democratic Party event — but the state party has yet to book a speaker for its highest profile event, the fall Jefferson Jackson Dinner.

Democrats insist that if Clinton runs there will be someone to challenge her, but her sky-high popularity and the growing national movement to elect a woman to the White House is almost certain to prevent a recurrence of 2008.

“There’s nobody in today’s Democratic Party who could take her on and win,” said one Iowa Democratic operative. “There are a bunch of people who could run to boost their own profiles, but she’s just too popular here this time.”

Asked when there will be two women on a party ticket, Schriock, pointing to a popular freshman senator from Massachusetts, replied: “Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren has a nice ring to it.”

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Iowa and Mississippi were one of two states never to have elected a woman to Congress. In fact, there are four such states. Iowa and Mississippi are the only two states never to have elected women to Congress or governor.

33 comments
chapalody
chapalody

Make history twice in a roll? That's what got this country in the mess it's in now. Making history. It's been over four and a half years of buyers remorse voting for Obama. Anybody but Obama would look good to any Democrat. Even Hillary.

blakeNaustin
blakeNaustin

We can only hope that Iowa is ready to loudly proclaim that Hillary is unfit to be president.  A compulsive liar.  No moral compass.  No noteworthy accomplishments as a senator or secretary of state.  An abrasive and self-absorbed human being.  We can do much better.

WalterAdams
WalterAdams

Not sure if I'm ready for the "All Hillary, All the Time' network.

I know of course, that she is so smart, talented, gifted and, dare I say, Sainted? that she could serve as a night lite in a coal mine.

But, my memory fails me.

What exactly are her accomplishments?

Not that it matters. Don't get the idea that someone should have actually achieved anything to be qualified for the presidency.

But what exactly has she done?

DanBruce
DanBruce

Iowa has a thing for selecting women in unofficial voting. Last year it was Michelle Bachmann in the straw poll. Now Hillary. Neither will ever be president, imo. As a lifelkong Democrat, I want Bill or Hillary in the Oval Office about as much as I want another Bush in the White House. Please, Iowa Democrats, don't try to herd us into a losing campaign by pushing Hillary. We can do better.

Slugfest13
Slugfest13

Women hold a majority in the voting population, but, not all of them want Hillary.  Mostly the older one's that selfishly want to see a woman president elected in their lifetime.  It's pure vanity.  Hillary has had great opportunities, but her actual public service has been spotty and often terrible misguided, much like her husband's was.  The Clintons have great wealth, power and political influence, but they have not done much for anyone except themselves.  

redonevet6568
redonevet6568

Haven't we learned with Obama that historical firsts do not work out as planned? Were Hillary to win, she would prove just as inept. Everything she has, and I mean everything is a result of her husband. She was a failure as a first lady, a failure as a Senator and the worse SecState in modern history. Can anyone name a single major international accomplishment? OK, how about a minor one. No? Well, how about a major piece of ground breaking legislation as a Senator? All Hillary has is her gender and it's getting old. They used to say that the Presidential election was a "beauty contest". If that's still true, Hillary better buy a comb, learn to use it and start the full body plastic surgery now. There's a lot of work to be done in just two years.

LarryJones
LarryJones

This a joke.

I would let neither Hillary nor Elizabeth (fauxcahontis) take care of my cats nor run my country.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Nice to see TIME Magazine already coming out as one of Hillary's cheerleaders (others include CNN, The NY Times, Newsweek, etc.).

dklloyd
dklloyd

Hillary would have unprecedented levels of support across a wide specrum of voters.She would have Obama voters and more.I can't wait.

treez
treez

Okay, here's the real deal: I'm an actively-involved Iowa Democrat, and lots of us just laugh and laugh and laugh when the eastcoast media circus precipitously declares that Hillary Clinton is formidable, and of course will absolutely be the next Dem candidate for president -- HOGWASH!! The entire reason that Hill didn't start out to run a 2008 caucus campaign was because it was well-known that she could.. not.. win.. Iowa -- she was -- and still is -- just waaaay too disliked on a very personal level by too many otherwise stalwart Democrats in this state. Huh-uh -- Hillary's assumed takeover of all things Dem is NOT a 'given', no matter what a very narrow group like Emily's List might say. Remember poor ol' former gov Tom Vilsack's lame attempt at a prez campaign in 2007??? The Clintons PUT HIM UP to do it, solely as a 'cover' for why Hillary shouldn't bother mounting a caucus campaign here, because surely he would win the entire caucus as a favorite son, just as Harkin had in 1992! But noooo ... folks were wise to that gambit, and solidly rejected Vilsack's bid, leaving him with a pile of bills that -- gee whiz! -- the Clintons paid off for him, also promising him that they'd fix it so he'd get a good job with her in the White House (which meant that it was a part of the deal-making done with the Obama campaign when he won instead -- Vilsack didn't want to be Ag Sect., he wanted Educ. or Comm., FYI). But when one of her own staffers' emails got loose about why they were only going to concentrate on New Hampshire, because she ''couldn't win in Iowa'', she then had to scramble and disguise that plan by saying that of course she was going to campaign here! But no, she didn't have the depth of contacts or staff needed to cover the state, and hey, I'm ta-ryy-ing to tell ya, Hillary is -- STILL -- far too disliked to ever get an overwhelming win here, nope, nope. Too many Dems are very well aware of the Clintons so-tight ties to corporate America, Wall Street, the much-hated-here trade agreements and much, much more -- they are very happily tied at the ankles to WalMart, Tyson Chicken (both Arkansas cos), Monsanto, Cargill, etc., of Big Ag, and people in Iowa just won't stand for her running in the caucus as if it's all hers for the taking. PLEASE Democrats! Get some other worthy candidates to run, and we'll support them! ANYbody BUT Hillary! Please????!!!

jmac
jmac

I hate caucuses and Iowa has the worst of the worst caucus.   They should all be done away with.  

kamanalonokapu
kamanalonokapu

Wouldn’t it be devastating if Hillary Clinton championed Elizabeth Warren for the 2016 presidency with herself as vice-president?

roknsteve
roknsteve

If you want to clear a conservative clan meeting just yell "Hillary."

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@blakeNaustin Not on the GOP side we can't. I have seen circus clowns more fit to govern than any of the GOP candidates.

treez
treez

@DanBruce Please read my reply to the idiot roknsteve below! .I don't hate her -- I just want SOMEbody other than her to be the next Dem prez!

jmac
jmac

@DanBruce Bill Clinton has a phenomenal eight-year record.

If you're judging him on his sex life - the church lady says tsk tsk.  

Slugfest13
Slugfest13

@redonevet6568  I disagree. Madeline Albright, Hillary's role model was far worse.  Her jingoist rhetoric and arrogant stupidity almost precipitated a showdown with Russia over Kosovo which turned out to be yet another of Clinton's foreign policy disasters.

manlyman
manlyman

"WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?!!"

Slugfest13
Slugfest13

@dklloyd Not so fast.  There's a whole mess of Obama voters that wouldn't touch her with a ten foot pole.  Those are the one's that helped Obama defeat her last time.

HeatherOMalley
HeatherOMalley

@dklloyd - Those that would vote for he vagina instead of qualifications. That same voter block is what destroyed Detroit, and is now destroying America.

Sandbear
Sandbear

@dklloyd

Stellar record governing, sticking her neck out confronting Obama, 2 books ˜fact-checked” to the hilt, 26,000 emails forced open, and an independently made movie – all show that Gov. Sarah Palin is a hard working, capable, incorruptible, servant of the people.

Gov. Sarah Palin has the truth on her side (see ObamaCare “death panels”). The more that comes to light, the better for her. The exact opposite of the vast majority of politicians.

Another National Run in Sarah Palin’s Future? http://www.opednews.com/articles/Another-National-Run-in-Sa-by-William-Bike-130224-69.html

Clinton, Palin Remain in the Spotlight http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/02/19/clinton-palin-remain-in-the-spotlight/

Sarah Palin First Tea Party President http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blog/show?id=3355873%3ABlogPost%3A2443160&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post

https://www.sarahpacdonate.com/

roknsteve
roknsteve

@treez Okay, here's the real deal.  You're just a Tea Party Troll. 

11305GG
11305GG

@treez Bless you!!!  I am neither Democrat nor Republic.  I support stances on both sides although I am socially liberal. Enough of the Clintons.  If nothing else, their egos suck up all the air in the room and their personal history is a distraction. I strongly feel that it is time for this country to move on from them.  I also strongly believe that they are both most concerned with their personal goals than that of our nation.  Their main goal being that they both hold the office of President.  AND I believe that they made a pact with each other decades ago to collectively support each other in that goal NO MATTER what indignity or obstacle they might personally face.  I believe them both to be brilliant, however I find them both obnoxious in their need to feed their massive egos.  Although, that is not a unique trait, it is one that I find a distraction, disruptive, and too consuming for the office of the President of the US. The thought of having to put up with and hear about Bill Clinton again is enough to make me puke.  I yearn for the day when they both will just go away.  I think they are obsessed with Hillary becoming the first female President for no other reason than their egos.  It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the good of the nation in my estimation.  PLEASE Democrats AND Republicans find some other worthy candidates!!  I personally am interested in someone who has already demonstrated a strong commitment to this country via some sort of military services or self sacrificing efforts rather than an Ivy Leaguer with a law degree.  I don't want someone who sits in a ivory tower who has lived a life in recent years removed from the realities of typical Americans. AND, in these times of war and terror, I personally do not want someone who hasn't a clue as to what it means, how it impacts, and the everlasting effects of sending a less than 1% of our Nation's population to war. 

reallife
reallife

@roknsteve if you want to clear a Hillary's supporters meeting just yell "Monica!"


DanBruce
DanBruce

@jmac @DanBruce Bill's sex life essentially gave us George W. Bush for eight years. That erases any good that Bill accomplished in his first four years (the last four were wasted trying to cover up his misdeeds). The Clintons are bad news for America.

WalterAdams
WalterAdams

@Sandbear @dklloyd

If Sarah runs for president, I may become a Democrat, so I can vote ten times for her.
Nothing cracks me up like the sight of liberals getting the Heebie-Jeebies and climbing the wall at the mere mention of her name. 
I don't say 'Boo' anymore to scare people; if they are democrats I just sneak up behind them and say; "You Bet-CHA" and wink at them.
 Works every time.

treez
treez

@roknsteve Sorry to disappoint you, pal, but I was an Iowa Dem Party precinct chair for the better part of 10 years, in an extremely active, liberal precinct. I was directly involved with 2 prez campaigns, met virtually all of the 1-1/2 dz. candidates who ran in 2004 & 2008 -- personally, face-to-face, because that's how we roll here in Iowa at caucus-fever time --  and know more crap about the whole smelly process of how we elect a president than will ever appear in any news analysis. This happens ev-er-y time -- one year after an election, the media is ALLready back here, knockin' at the door, wanting to know who Iowans are going to support for prez in the NEXT caucus! It's a never-ending game of 'news' that isn't news. And the utterly stupid result is that people just blurt out the most recognizable name that comes to mind -- and right now that's Hillary. End of story. 'Kay?

treez
treez

@11305GG @treez Please read my reply to the idiot roknsteve below! And thanks for correctly reading what I wrote.I don't hate her -- I just want SOMEbody other than her to be the next Dem prez!

Slugfest13
Slugfest13

@11305GG @treez Hooray for both of you!  I'm glad to see occasional sanity prevail over hysteria.  But, hey, it is also shark week in August.  It's easy to scrape up a Hillary's royal march to the throne story.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@reallife @roknsteve If you really want to scare conservatives tell them every day that a black family is gonna live in the White House til 2017 and a woman til 2020.

treez
treez

@Slugfest13 @11305GG @treez Please read my reply to the idiot roknsteve below! And thanks for correctly reading what I wrote.I don't hate her -- I just want SOMEbody other than her to be the next Dem prez!