Sunday, November 16, 2003

Thoughts on the JJ Dinner

We woke up this morning to a fat copy of the Des Moines Register in front of our hotel room. The front page declared that “Hillary Clinton was the star attraction at Saturday’s Jefferson Jackson Day dinner.” And in today’s New York Times, Adam Nagourney says that “it was clear that the dinner was largely about someone who is not even running for president, at least not this year. It was more about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York senator who was the dinner’s mistress of ceremonies, and who, in coming here, began a new phase in one of the most closely watched political careers in the nation.”



Uh, not so much.



This is the convenient angle. It’s newsworthy. But it’s just not an accurate representation of what happened last night.



First off, it was notable that everyone who had a role in starting the evening — from Gov. Tom Vilsack to Sen. Tom Harkin to Sen. Hillary Clinton — made a point of saying that the next president would be one of the candidates “with us here tonight.” To those who think Clark is the Clintons’ choice, that’s an odd statement for Hillary to make. The native Iowans were clearly tweaked that fully one third of the candidates (Clark, Lieberman and Sharpton) skipped the event. And Clinton explicitly stated her support for the candidates, and spoke in such warmed-over bromides about “moving forward” and “having hope” and “looking to the future” and “supporting the people” that it was hard to distinguish from a mayoral race. Bottom line — she did a good job of setting the stage, lending support to all the candidates and helping the party raise money. All of which she was supposed to do. What she didn’t do was dominate the evening.



Who did? Well, I’m certainly biased. But here are some observations:




  • Edwards had one semi-coordinated section. They spent the better part of the night trying to spell “John Edwards” with a collection of posters, but the closest they got was “Joan Enders” (or something that looked like it). On the positive side, in the gathering section for Edwards supporters, there was the following poster. I love it.





Bloggers for Edwards. Photo by Rick Klau.





  • Gephardt’s supporters were nowhere to be found. For a candidate with a supposed 7 point lead in Iowa and a superior organization in Iowa, it was a shocking absence.

  • Kerry’s supporters were excellent — well organized and loudly supportive. They even had cheer lines coordinated with his speech: when he asked what the country got when President Bush led us to war, they all yelled “A RAW DEAL” in unison. They were three sections in all, and did a great job of supporting their candidate. Too bad that Kerry himself appeared exhausted and going through the motions. He had a terrible week, and it appeared to have taken its toll on him.



  • Kucinich’s speech was notable for its exuberant support of the other candidates. The last two minutes was dedicated to yelling that “any of the candidates tonight could…” followed by numerous statements about how we’re better than Bush. Is he laying the groundwork for an exit? (Funny side note: Doug Henk, who is part of DuPage for Dean and traveled with us, met Kucinich in the hotel lobby this morning. Showing his sense of humor, Kucinich asked Doug: “Just one question. Do you think I got my point across that I want us out of Iraq?”)



And now on to Dean. The recent National Republic profile of Joe Trippi talks about Trippi’s long history with the JJ Dinner, and the fact that at his core, Joe is an organization guy. That skill was apparent last night, with Iowa staffers wearing matching yellow t-shirts (on the back? “How’s my organizing? Call 1-866-DEAN 4 US”) and walkie-talkies with headsets to give (and take) orders in unison. When our section was found to be missing cowbells, one staffer quickly radioed to another section and our cowbells showed up. The other half of DuPage for Dean was in another section entirely; they were missing signs and got them within minutes. No other campaign had this kind of distributed organization evident throughout the hall.



Some of you may have read the CNN report about the event, where they note that we needed 43 buses to get from the afternoon rally to the JJ Dinner. (Apparently the campaign needed a parade permit from the city in order to accommodate that kind of traffic.)





Buses for Dean. Photo by Rick Klau.




But the organization goes beyond acquiring permits ahead of time: it included staffers on every bus, handing out instructions for the evening, photocopies of the chants we’d be doing and giving directions for how to behave (“Respect all who respect us” was the mantra).



A master-stroke (again likely Trippi’s idea) was having Dean get introduced while walking amongst his supporters. Each of the other campaigns walked the path set out by the organizers, and shook the same sets of hands among those fortunate enough to have seats along the path on the floor. Dean, reinforcing his “People-Powered Howard” theme, showed up not among the $1,000/table floor attendees, but among the $40/ticket balcony attendees. The crowd went wild once they figured out where he was, and you could tell Dean fed off the energy.





Dean in the crowd. Photo by Ryan Witt, Dean for America.




The real impact of all this organization was the show of force by the Dean campaign. Where Gephardt and Edwards each had one section of support, and Kerry had three, we had twelve. Not only were the cheers deafening, the matching signs and ringing cowbells were impressive.





What Doug Henk called the “Sea of Dean”. Photo by Rick Klau.




The most awe-inspiring part of the night was the unraveling of the “WIN WITH DEAN” banners that unfurled simultaneously as Dean got the crowd going with his repeated “You have the power!” line. The banners were about 30 rows long. Though you could see something going on, but it wasn’t until the people jerked them open that all at once you could see the entire section covered with one simple message: WIN WITH DEAN.





Win with Dean. Photo by Rick Klau.




Building on top of the chant that the balcony had now taken on (“WE HAVE THE POWER! WE HAVE THE POWER! WE HAVE THE POWER!”), there was no doubt who the focus of this evening was, nor what our purpose was. It was Howard Dean, not Hillary Clinton.



Walking out, my wife and I grabbed a couple of the 8’ x 4’ “DEAN | A New Day for Democrats” signs to take home. As we walked the skyway back to our hotel, we passed a number of other supporters from other campaigns. One elderly couple wearing Kerry buttons complimented us: “Your candidate gave a fantastic speech,” she said. He turned to me. “I’m just sorry I went with Kerry. When I first saw Dean, I figured he didn’t have a chance in hell. So I went with the candidate who had the credentials. And Kerry’s a good man. But in 50 years I’ve never seen the enthusiasm for a campaign like Dean’s built. Keep up the good work!”



The bottom line: if last night was any indication of where the campaigns are at (and the campaigns’ own efforts reflect their belief that it was), then here’s my assessment: Gephardt’s support is thin. He may have a majority of people willing to say they support him, but those willing to travel on his behalf to show that support are much fewer in number. (Note: this is consistent with something Roger Simon commented on regarding Gephardt’s apparent seven point lead in Iowa. Interesting.)



Kerry’s looking much stronger than the polls would indicate. And Dean is the far-and-away front-runner, with motivated and passionate supporters who are willing to do whatever it takes to win. (Proof? Last night’s JJ Dinner was the first one in Iowa’s history in which a representative from each of Iowa’s 99 counties was present. Can you guess which campaign put that together?)



What a great weekend. It was worth the long drive (11 hours in the car with two little ones!) and a night that my wife and I won’t soon forget.

80 comments:

  1. Iowa's Jackson Jefferson Dinner Recap

    Via Rick Klau's weblog, a direct report on the going's on in Iowa over the weekend at the Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner....Good pics and analysis.... Only 63 days until the Iowa Caucus.......

    ReplyDelete
  2. Iowa's Jefferson Jackson Dinner Recap

    Via Rick Klau's weblog, a direct report on the going's on in Iowa over the weekend at the Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner....Good pics and analysis.... Only 63 days until the Iowa Caucus.......

    ReplyDelete
  3. Back from Iowa

    I’m back from the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Iowa, the annual fund-raiser for the Iowa Democratic Party. Over at my Dean campaign blog, I took some notes about how I thought it went. One of the pictures in particular will...

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  4. great description! great photos! thanks for posting!

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  5. great description! great photos! thanks for posting!

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  6. Thoughts On Iowa

    Rick Klau, a Howard Dean supporter, has some interesting observations about Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa. In particular, he doesn't think the media's portrayal of Hillary Clinton's dominance is acccurate: "This is the convenient angl...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rick,

    Great report!

    My wife and I drove to Des Moines from Memphis, TN and the night was electric! We were under the "I" in "WIN" and that was a great moment.

    Bryan

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  8. Wow! I feel like I was there. Your description was much better than watching it on CNN. What is your take on Hillary's introduction where she used the first person to introduce Dean? At first I thought that she said it because that is what the campaign wrote up for her to say. But as I thought about it I wondered if she made the change herself to play to the crowd. Her hug of Dean was peremptory, but she clearly was tapping into his mantra of "You have the power" shen she continually challenged the crowd to work on winning the election for the next 50 weeks. Now that I know that there were 12 sections of Dean people I think my latter understanding is correct. She is one smooth politician.

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  9. In the area of supporters, the J&J affair was pretty much a Kerry versus Dean affair.

    "Kerry had three, we had twelve" What? Were you at the same dinner?

    Edwards and Gep had a section or two of supporters each, but in the rest of the arena was evenly split between loud Kerry and Dean supporters. Dean did NOT have more supporters there than Kerry. This is typical Dean hype.

    Kerry has the largest number of committed legislators in Iowa, the best organization and it showed at the dinner. Matter of fact, the buzz at the event was about how many crazed, loud excited Kerry supporters there were at the event. Plus the Firefighters for Kerry and Veterans for Kerry were the most visible of all the supporter groups. Guess, the media is wrong about the Kerry campaign being dead.

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  10. Hillary prefaced her introduction of the candidates by saying the following, "Just to not offend any candidates supporters, I want people to know that I asked the campaigns to prepare my introduction which I will read verbatim." My take was that she was upset to have to read Dean's introduction in first person like she actually wrote the words. While it was a brilliant move for the Dean campaign, since most people will not hear the preface, I have a feeling raising Hillary's ire is not a good thing long-term.

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  11. Thoughts On Iowa

    Rick Klau, a Howard Dean supporter, has some interesting observations about Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa. In particular, he doesn't think the media's portrayal of Hillary Clinton's dominance is acccurate: "This is the convenient angl...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thoughts On Iowa

    Rick Klau, a Howard Dean supporter, has some interesting observations about Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa. In particular, he doesn't think the media's portrayal of Hillary Clinton's dominance is acccurate: "This is the convenient angl...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thoughts On Iowa

    Rick Klau, a Howard Dean supporter, has some interesting observations about Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa. In particular, he doesn't think the media's portrayal of Hillary Clinton's dominance is acccurate: "This is the convenient angl...

    ReplyDelete
  14. There were definitely more Dean people than Kerry people in the balcony. I don't know how many more.

    I will say this though. Kerry had more people, at least more vocal people on the floor.

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  15. Around the Blogs: Rick Klau Reports on JJ

    Rick Klau has an excellent report on his observations (with some great photos to boot) of the Dean presence at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner this weekend in Des Moines. An excerpt: And now on to Dean. The recent National...

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  16. On Political Wire, I saw someone questioning Rick Klau's statement that Dean had the most supporters at the JJ dinner.
    Well, I was there and Rick is absolutely right. I counted. There were twenty something balcony sections and 12 of them were Dean people. Kerry's turnout was impressive (though it was more than a little strange how all of his supporters knew to shout certain lines on cue), but I counted only seven Kerry sections.
    Where were all the Gephardt supporters? Only one section.

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  17. Bryan, you would agree with me that 12 sections to 3 is a gross misrepresentation though, right?

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  18. great coverage! keep up the great work

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  19. Kudos for the outstanding coverage, Rick!

    I'm not surprised that the so-called liberal media did not allow the facts to get in the way of their shamelessly dishonest reporting of Hillary Clinton's appearance at the event Saturday night. Despite the fact that the main event focused largely on the presidential candidates, the establishment media are sticking with their pre-event story line about Hillary "stealing the spotlight away from candidates." Pure rubbish!

    From my living room, the real story was Howard Dean. He and his supporters really got the party started. Dean's exhilarating message of empowerment, community and hope is the right prescription needed to heal our divided nation and return democracy to the people.

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  20. Daniel,

    Gross? I don't know that is apt. Optimistic is how I would describe it. We, the Dean people, seemed in my opinion, to dominate the balcony in sheer numbers. I would put it more like 11/Dean to 6/Kerry. If Rick was sitting in the corner that I think he was, it might have been difficult for him to see all of Kerry's sections to his right.

    I'm just theorizing on this, of course.

    Further, there was at least a total of one section of Gephardt people that I could see.

    I'm going to be posting on my own blog this afternoon regarding the how many people were there. I have some errands to run but I think between Rick's pics and my pics of the event we can come up with a reasonable agreement on supporters of the event.

    www.brassmask.com

    Rick, hope you don't mind me plugging here. If you do, delete this post.

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  21. The Boston Globe (which has been no friend to Kerry as of late) puts the balcony split at 30% Dean to 20% Kerry. Then when you take into account the substantial lean on the arena floor toward Kerry, the numbers reach near parity.

    http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/320/nation/Touting_his_own_record_Kerry_takes_new_tack_against_Bush_Dean+.shtml

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  22. I was there. I saw 5 1/2 Kerry sections, approximately 200 people only if all the seats were full, and they weren't all full. And I"d say that Gov.Dean had at least 10-12 FULL sections if not more. It was easy to count the Kerry people, they all had red shirts. Edwards had one full section and part of another. Gephart had vey few supporters. And Carol Moseley Baun was the classiest lady in the joint.
    I think Gov Dean had the most people on the floor, where I was sitting, and the best organizational presence.
    I also think when Hillary said this, she already had a candidate in mind. Dean !

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Des Moines crowd that the 2004 elections will send "one of our best Democrats that we've produced in years to the White House."

    http://www.msnbc.com/news/994031.asp?vts=111720030844

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  23. THIS IS CLASSIC. That army of buses is like the revolution is coming into a town near you! If this is how we support for the caucuses, I can't wait 'til we start going up against GWBush. He's goin' downnnnnnnnn.

    ROCK ON DEAN!

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  24. I saw the JJ dinner on CSPAN this weekend. I was so excited about all the Dean supporters that I could feel the energy all the way through my television. His speech brought tears of excitement and hope to my eyes.

    Howard Dean will be our next President. And he will be one of the greatest President's in our country's history. I am so proud to be a part of something so great.

    Whoever came up with the Beatles' song "Revolution" as a theme song at the dinner was a genius! What a perfect song to carry the spirit of the moment. It was great!!

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  25. Rick's right, most "top Democratic officials" in Iowa believe the REAL race will be in 2008 after Bush has been in office for 4 more years, that's when Hilary Clinton will run. Well if that's the case, top Dem's like the Dem. National Com. have underestimated us so far. Dean has come like David who asks to challenge goliath, and even his older brothers (the DNC) scorn him and jeer. Still, I hear you guys in Iowa and I'm in Colorado, the power with Dean is in us, the newcomers and oldtimers. And whoever was the loudest supporter of Dean TODAY, is the driving force of the campaign overall. You certainly have proved yourselves in Iowa, and have inspired us out here. Keep it up! One day at a time!

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  26. Daniel D, you are dead wrong about Kerry's supporters. I WAS AT THE DINNER. There were literally 3 seating sections of Kerry people and 12 of Dean's. We outnumbered them by far, there is no doubt about that to anyone who was at the dinner.

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  27. I was at the JJ dinner and I counted how many sections. Edwards and Gephardt each had one section, Kerry had seven sections, and Dean had eleven sections. During Governor Dean's speech, even the firefighters for whom Kerry had bought two tables on the floor gave Dean a standing ovation during several different points. The Dean people undoubtedly owned the crowd.

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  28. I can't believe this is actually a point of contention. I was there, I counted nine sections for Kerry and twelve for Dean. I guess this points out the inherant problem in eyewitness accounts.

    Did anyone get pictures of The Clown? I'd love to get copies if anyone has them.

    Marshall Stern

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  29. I was there too. My count was 11 sections for Dean and 8 for Kerry. I counted because it seemed close. I was in the balcony, near one of the Kerry sections, so I may not have been able to get a clear count of all.

    The floor was not dominated by Kerry, IMO, although the firefighters were very visible and well positioned.

    That said, I was surprised by the strength of Kerry's showing and the lack of Gephardts strength. You would never have been able to pick their positions in the polls from the crowd there.

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  30. GREAT REPORT.

    Remember, it is a media manufactured MYTH that Hilary is plotting to run in 2004. The regular press seems too lazy to research the truth while the conservative spin machine is deliberately manipulating perceptions about Dean and the "disorganized" Democratic Party.

    I HAVE HOPE.

    Many in the media are starting to catch on that Dean is not a 'phenomenon." This campaign, both the means and the man, are the future of this party.

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  31. i was also @ JJ (in the section around the bend to the left from the DEAN banner) and i have to agree kerry did have a very impressive amount of support. i too counted sections and i don't know where people are getting the 12 number from but i counted us as having 8 and kerry as having 7. they were incredibly organized but i think in the end we out enthused them. we were on our feet screaming for the entirity of dean's speech and we could usually drown them out when it came to shouting matches. gephardt did have one section (across from the edwards people). clark had half a section as well (beyond the edwards people). the inflated dean numbers might have come from counting those in with us.

    in the end i think dean definitly took the night, what with the drop-down banners (which looked great for those of you lucky enough to be under them) and dean's enterance into the crowd. the c-span coverage really didn't do us justice, it was a phenomonal event.

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  32. So basically we can conclude from the submitted entires that Deanies can't count very well.

    Interesting. I've long suspected it, just now had it confirmed.

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  33. Great to read a partisan account that's still fair. Keep it up, Rick!

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  34. An amusing sidenote. I was in the "With" section. The Dean workers dutifully rolled out the neatly folded tarp from top to bottom and gave instructions to those of us in the aisle seats on how and when to open. Next thing I know the tarp is being frantically rolled up and back down in a bit of a mess. Turns out the tarp had been deployed upside down which could have led to a disastrous "WIN HTIW DEAN".

    I admit I don't have an exact "section count" but I know we outnumbered Kerry's impressive showing.

    My sister was on the floor as a Teamsters Gephardt supporter (don't ask...blood is thicker than politics) and she said without question Dean had the most and, by far, the loudest support.

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  35. Havel on the soul of democracy

    Jay Rosen, in a fine piece on what's wrong with politics, quotes Vaclav Havel: Many of the traditional mechanisms of democracy created and developed and conserved in the modern era are so linked to the cult of objectivity and statistical average that t...

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  36. Did any other candidate besides Dean have 43 PACKED buses of people?

    Or have so many buses that he/she needed a parade permit to get them all to the dinner?

    Or fill EVERY SINGLE ONE OF TWELVE SECTIONS (as opposed to maybe filling three or so sections three-quarters full)?

    Didn't think so.

    And nobody had signage like Dean's. No one.

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  37. "So basically we can conclude from the submitted entires that Deanies can't count very well."

    I dunno. We counted to $14.8 million pretty well.

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  38. I attended the event and absolutely could not believe the fantastic atmosphere, the electricity, the everything good. As a 60 something, I don't get excited about much, but have become a cheerleader and enthusiastic supporter of Dr. Dean and am proud to be Union county Iowa Co-Chair.

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  39. I went to the JJ dinner and had a fantastic time! Although I am curious about one thing. Did anyone else notice that some of the Kerry supporters seemed rather young? As in, too young to even vote? Or I will admit, perhaps I just ran into a select crowd while I was milling about.

    And I do agree that Dean had the most people there, although Kerry's sections of red shirts were impressive.

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  40. I heard a media report that the Kerry Campaign paid for the tickets of those supporters in attendance Sat. night [If not all, at least a large enough number to be significant] I don't remember where I heard it [NPR maybe?] or if it's correct. But if true, the Kerry support wouldn't be as strong as it seemed.

    Anyone else no more about this, or could post a link for more information?

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  41. Great report Rick, thanks.

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  42. I just got here and don't have time to read every entry, but I did scan them. I can't see anyone talking about a report I heard on the day that Gephardt's count was low at the event because they were all out canvassing voters. The claim was that they thought it was more important to work in the field than to put on a show that only a few would see. What do the folks who are in Iowa think of that?

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  43. Wait, if the number of Dean sections vs. Kerry sections is in dispute, and neither side can agree on the number of sections it itself had, how does that mean that it's the Dean people alone who can't count?

    I could claim that Kerry people can't count either, and it would be equally unjustified...

    (So help us out, Kerry people: how many buses full of Kerry supporters were there?)

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  44. Martin in BaltimoreNovember 17, 2003 at 7:54 AM

    Thanks for the great report Rick. Too bad that we don't get better reports from the major newspapers about what actually happened at these events.

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  45. OMG! Rick we may have missed each other but I think we were sitting in the SAME SECTION! i took a picture of the giant "win with dean" banners and i swear to god it is almost *identical* to the one you post. you MUST have been sitting within ten feet of me.

    ARG! missed ya by "that much"!

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  46. Rick,

    I, too, attended the JJ Dinner. I have always wanted to see the action in Iowa. Howard Dean is the first candidate that I have cared enough about to travel from California on a weekend and check things out in Des Moines.

    This is politics truly on a human scale. I bought $100 tickets for me and my friend Russell. My table was near the roped off lane where the candidates entered Veteran's Auditorium. I was confused when Dean didn't enter when his name was called. After a few moments, my friend pointed to our man in the balcony, among the "people." I thought it was a great move. I was able to get a good look at the crowd from my vantage point from the floor of the auditorium. It sure looked to me that Dean had the lion's share of support.

    I want to take a moment now to document that I was misquoted by a Boston Globe reporter that I met on the airplane. She claimed that I said that I booed Mrs. Clinton in response to a suggestion that she was telegraphing a message to Dean to be less angry and more positive. I didn not boo Mrs. Clinton. I told the Globe reporter that I didn't detect an attempt on the part of Mrs. Clinton to telegraph this to Dean obliquely. However, my friend and I did boo Senator Kerry's pointed remarks that seemed directed against Dr. Dean. I thought it was lame that Senator Kerry used Jimmy Carter's phrase "send them a president, not a message." As with Carter's orginal import of the phrase to indicate that he, not Ted Kennedy, was more electable with the American people, Kerry was implying the same meaning with Dr. Dean. Kerry's assertion was a bit more rich than I could accept and sit silently. So, I booed him. The Globe reporter used her misquotation of me to reinforce her implied claim that Mrs. Clinton was critizing Dean's supposed angry message. I did not

    I had the priviledge of sitting next to a former statewise Iowa elected official. She believes Dean is going to take the caucuses. Gephardt's time has come and gone. Kerry is "stale." Dean has all the young people.

    We, in the Dean campaign intend to send to Washington a message AND a PRESIDENT.

    Mark Takano

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  47. Great coverage, I was at the JJ Dinner as well, and one thing worth noting was that A LOT of Kerry's supporters at the JJ were not even of age (or even close to it) to vote. I asked a few of them what they were doing, they said "We were asked to be part of Kerry's "visibilty."

    Dean supporters were out in force.

    Kerry had more of a dog and pony show going. He marched into Veterans Stadium with dancers and a drum core.

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  48. So Dean had to ship in 43 busloads huh? Wow - guess he doesn't have much support here in DesMoines if he had to ship them all in.

    Gephardt will win Iowa again, but he'll lose the nomination...hopefully to Kerry who is the best qualified person running. Obviously Dean is the "angriest" but that doesn't play well except to the die-hards.

    Good luck Dean - you'll need it, especially if you get the nomination.

    IowaGuy

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  49. Well, I was on the floor and me and my friend were counting sections. We counted 12 Dean, 2 Kerry, 1 Gephardt, 1 Edwards (his one was a little larger that Gephardt's). Disclaimer: my friend and I are both Dean.

    Telling moment that NO ONE has yet reported: Dean spoke fifth, with Mosely-Braun last. (Usually these things are determined by random drawing unless there's an extenuating schedulig circumstance.) They moved the bucket pass for $$$ up to just before Dean spoke, figuring the crowd would thin out after Dean (it did, a little).

    Most of the press went with the predetermined "Hillary overshadows candidates" headline. But from the mouths of babes, the U or Iowa Daily Iowan went with "Dems upstage Hillary"

    The Dean bus caravan broke the previous JJ record of 35 buses (Gephardt '87). Supposedly the Gephardt campaign decided packing the gallery "wasn't worth it" this time, but I have my doubts...

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  50. More on the buses:

    I was on the buses. The busloads were the "real deal" (to steal a phrase) not an imported claque. Here's how it worked.

    People met at the dinner site early afternoon and parked. (I brought a vanload of our locals the two hours to Des Moines.) We then got onto buses to go to the Dean pre-dinner rally site. Then we bussed back to the dinner site.

    This 1) saved parking at the rally site and 2) probably more to the point made for a grand entrance.

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  51. I was at the JJ Dinner sitting with the Minnesota for Dean people. One observation about the Kerry camp: Many (if not most) of his supporters in the balcony seemed to be under voting age. I was in a section right next to the main Kerry section and I saw lots of high schoolers wearing Kerry shirts. Not sure why that was, but it seemed odd to me, and all of us from Minnesota noticed this.

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  52. Deeth - I hadn't talked about the Iowa Democrats coincidentally picking the spot before Dean's appearance to pass the bucket. It struck me as tacky (didn't we all pay good $$ to be there in the first place?) and more than a bit opportunistic (whatever your numbers, it seems everyone leaving comments here today agrees that Dean outnumbered all other candidates, so what better time to encourage people to donate than the precise moment they thought they'd all see Dean? Some just donated to get the bucket out of the section faster).

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  53. I was at JJ also. I've canvassed Mason City for Dean and the average age of the people I spoke to (people who have caucused before) was somewhere between 60-70 years old.

    The sea of Dean supporters was one of the most eclectic group of supporters I've seen. I suspect that most of them have never caucused before - and thus, have not been polled.

    Kerry made an impressive showing, and though I did not bother to count (Deaniacs were far and away the majority), it was not as large as some have said.

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  54. bernie-island pond-VTNovember 17, 2003 at 11:24 AM

    I remember Howard working a phone bank out of Burlington VT a couple of elections ago and he called to make sure that a 88 year old senior would get a ride to vote the next day. When he asked me I said O Tina Bellis and he said yes and then we dicussed the next day and he asked how it looked, ( Howard had signed the civil union bill a while ago and my town was in the heart of Republician land) Told him it looked like 117 votes for him,it was 117,get the people to their caucus place to vote and we wil win, all else before is the fun and excitment of an election.

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  55. Isn't it i



    ronic that the pundits are all saying that only left wing liberal-types will vote for Dean? Ha! We are, dare I say, Republicans...and guess what - we are total Deaniacs!! So are many of our friends. So, Karl Rove can put that in his pipe and smoke it - all the way back to Texas.

    I am so tired of hearing how Hillary "stole the show" in Iowa. What a joke.
    Go Dean!!!

    VanBaush's

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  56. Thanks Rick! What a trooper you are (and a good father) for sharing the experience with your kids...nice to see that bus parade photo too. Wish I could have been there.

    Sincerely,

    Heath
    DeanTV.org

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  57. You can hear the NPR report on JJ here.
    Scroll down to "Sen. Clinton Shines...." The gist of the story is that Hillary was the star of the show but it did make it seem like a snake pit--all the sniping and wheedling. One interesting quote from the reporter: "Several in the Kerry group said that his campaign had given out free tickets and t-shirts." So there you go.

    I agree, let's send a message AND a president!

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  58. I was at the JJ Dinner as well, next to the Kerry corner section. They certainly were loud and more rehearsed, but they had the simple cheers. But as my girlfriend and her sister said on the way home (Kucinich supporters) Kerry had a whole lot of noise, but not much spirit. Instead of giving a number, I'll illustrate what was going on.
    K=Kerry
    D=Dean
    E=Edwards
    G=Gephardt
    ?=Couldn't see from my position.

    ??GDKKKD
    D
    D
    D
    ??EDDDDK

    The corners were marked as three sections a piece, but the total seats of the entire corners were just about one and a half of a full section.

    And although I couldn't see around the Jumbotron, I thought I glimpsed Dean signs next to Gephardt. I saw no Kucinich, Clark, or CMB groups.

    And about the buses. The 43 were just for the people coming from the pre-event rally. We parked at vets and took buses to the Des Moines Technical High School, then came back after the rally (which was not quite packed). There was also a full balcony of people which were not going to JJ at all.

    The Kerry people were annoying after a while, too. They would go off any time someone mentioned the word "president", even during a couple of the speeches.

    Another interesting thing I saw while I was coming in, the "God Hates Fags" people were milling around outside Vets. Some Dean supporters grabbed the big signs and boxed them off so no one could see them. Apparently they got bored and went home.

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  59. I think one of Rick's pictures answers the question of who had the most supporters at the JJ dinner.
    Apart from the simple calculation of who had the most sections (I'm sure the Iowa Democratic Party could provide that answer), there's the question of whose sections were actually full.
    On the right in the "Win With Dean" photo you can see sections 6, 8 and 10, Kerry sections. They're half full, while the Dean sections are packed to the rafters. There was some thinning of their numbers after Kerry spoke, but those sections were never full.
    I was impressed by Kerry's show of support, but everyone who was there for Gov. Dean left with even more enthusiasm for our campaign.
    I took with me two generally apolitical friends who are now Dean people. By wonderful fluke, they had a chance to shake Howard's hand when he walked through the balcony. We were in the vertigo-inducing upper reaches of section 2 (under the big "D" in the photo). It was a blast.

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  60. I was the JJ Dinner, and I lost my voice.. I was wondering if we have workers comp.. Because it took alllot of work to scream that loud.. I really should say it would have taken allot of work not to scream that loud.. The Kerry suporters which I Talk which was three all where from out state.. That most mean he does not much support in the state(dig on Iowa man.. Also the Dean heads I talk to we from all over even some from Iowa.. Well I would like to thank Dean for america for giving this working clas man a trip to Iowa.. I will be going back when ever you tell me to go

    Joe martin

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  61. My sister and I drove to Des Moines from Lincoln/Omaha (and paid our own way, by the way!) to attend the Dean rally and sit in the balcony for the JJ dinner. I'm in my 60's and I've never been involved in a political campaign before in my life: Howard Dean makes me feel like a real American again and I'm with him all the way to the White House! He had the most people and most vocal support at the JJ dinner. I didn't count sections, but I know what I saw! I was under the WITH and was impressed with the young man who insisted that the banner was upside down and the quick "recovery" of the Dean team. We had a great team leader on the bus back from the rally. GO DEAN TEAM! Tonight I'll be hosting a Victory party in Lincoln, Nebraska, writing letters to Democrats in Iowa, Saturday, New Hampshire.

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  62. Re Kucinich: Is he laying the groundwork for an exit?

    Absolutely not!!

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  63. As everyone else has said, a great report! I came from Minnesota to attend and I thought it was the most extraordinary Dean event I've been to thus far. It not only reassured my support in the man, but in the campaign and the chance of winning this race. The Sea of Dean will soon wash away the other candidates, and we'll see a great ship left afloat That ship is the S.S. Dean and it will be loaded and prepared for a war of words with battleship bush.

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  64. I was on one of the 4 non-Iowa buses, from Oklahoma. The JJ Dinner was the first major political event I've attended, and let me just say it was amazing! My mom and sister watched on C-SPAN, and both agreed Dean had the best presence. My only complaint had to be the rude Kerry supporters I encountered in the balcony. I had just arrived in the balcony and was searching for my section, and got shouted down repeatedly by many and physically shoved by one particularly mean girl. It was disappointing to be so excited to be surrounded by Democrats all working to get Bush out of the White House, and then attacked by some of those same people. I'm sure not all Kerry supporters are so viscious, but the ones I met sure were.

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  65. I was on one of the 4 non-Iowa buses, from Oklahoma. The JJ Dinner was the first major political event I've attended, and let me just say it was amazing! My mom and sister watched on C-SPAN, and both agreed Dean had the best presence. My only complaint had to be the rude Kerry supporters I encountered in the balcony. I had just arrived in the balcony and was searching for my section, and got shouted down repeatedly by many and physically shoved by one particularly mean girl. It was disappointing to be so excited to be surrounded by Democrats all working to get Bush out of the White House, and then attacked by some of those same people. I'm sure not all Kerry supporters are so viscious, but the ones I met sure were.

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  66. I was on one of the 4 non-Iowa buses, from Oklahoma. The JJ Dinner was the first major political event I've attended, and let me just say it was amazing! My mom and sister watched on C-SPAN, and both agreed Dean had the best presence. My only complaint had to be the rude Kerry supporters I encountered in the balcony. I had just arrived in the balcony and was searching for my section, and got shouted down repeatedly by many and physically shoved by one particularly mean girl. It was disappointing to be so excited to be surrounded by Democrats all working to get Bush out of the White House, and then attacked by some of those same people. I'm sure not all Kerry supporters are so viscious, but the ones I met sure were.

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  67. I attended the JJ dinner by taking a bus from Chicago. I was interviewed by Desmoines channel 6 news. I told about how we stopped at "Iowa 80" - the world's largest truck stop. The Chicago people were on 50 seat tour buses - the Kerry people got out of a couple of minivans. I told the reporter what a contrast it seemed to be - 50 passenger buses vs. minivans and that if you see big busses that's Dean - minivans were for Kerry! He also asked me about the atmosphere on the Bus and I said that people in the Chicago bus were of all ages and stations and that this was their first foray into politics.

    I moved around the auditorium quite a bit. At first I sat in section 22 which was just right of where all the Gephardt people were (later I joined Dean's crowd - just to the right of where the massive banner was unfurled,and screamed myself hoarse). Looking back it truly was the 'sea of Dean.' Indeed Kerry was second best in the crowd but a distant second. There's some confusion about the 'two sections' description. He had two different areas of supporters, each composed of two 'sections' so I say he had 4 sections. But Dean supporters clearly dominated the gallery area with 12 sections.

    It is the god's honest truth that Dean supporters were about double the rest of the candidates COMBINED - about three times the Kerry people. I'm not counting the floor where the people were eating - here Kerry had a few Firefighters for Dean people waving signs - curious how he was able to put non-banquet people on the floor and no one else was there.

    It's also true that Hillary, while a beloved figure, was overshadowed by Dean. She did seem to put Dean's intro into the first person, comparing his run to Bill's in that he was a governor from a small state that pundits claimed 'couldn't win.'
    Still, the overwhelming, deafening din of the Dean crowd made the last few sentences of the her introduction totally inaudible. All the candidates had 'theme' music. Like "Power to the People" by John Lennon for Kucinich. With Dean the roar was so deafening you couldn't even hear his theme music ("A Little Less Conversation" remix of Elvis Presley hit from last summer) on either entry or exit. While other candidates milked any applause, Dean had to try to talk over the deafening roar just to finish in a reasonable period.

    Yes, Gephardt's weakness was a big surprise. I even saw a bus of teamsters there to cheer him on, so he did attempt to bus people in.

    One older Kerry person (yes there were mostly teenagers - I suppose they could've been in college) congratulated me on our effort as I exited - I could barely answer back with my shredded vocal cords.

    This was a serious, 20 hour ordeal from stem to stern, but was worth every minute. It was quite a bit of fun, and I plan to get out to Iowa for more events.

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  68. I was at the JJ dinner and it was fantastic! The Dean Supporters definately outnumbered the Kerry Supporters. And Carol definately said it best when she said to rally around the one who wins the nomination...In this case, it will be Dean! I pretty much lost my voice from all of my yelling for Dean from the balcony. And just remember...We have the Power!!!!!

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  69. According to the staffers and volunteers, all of the Dean supporters at JJ have signed caucus pledge cards.

    Each of the 99 counties in IA were represented. Volunteers or staffers in each county organized carpools and caravans into DesMoines.

    Dean's is the only campaign actively working each county - including the heavily Republican ones.

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  70. Enough...This election is so serious! More content is what we need here. Enough of the bus and section count. Governor Dean should become more magical and so should his supporters. I have pledged and contributed early and understand that this urging is necessary. I am 72 and have been through many ideals and causes...this election is our chance to really grow to a better place. It all comes down to; this country has to practice those ideals that we have, in the past, sang praises of. The bratty sniping among the Democratic Party candidates and followers is not good for those of us who are dying out here at the hands of the Bush administration. Governor Dean gives us some hope. Be new and different! Ditch the old fashioned pompous dialog and manner. Get better at what you can do so well.

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  71. Enough...This election is so serious! More content is what we need here. Enough of the bus and section count. Governor Dean should become more magical and so should his supporters. I have pledged and contributed early and understand that this urging is necessary. I am 72 and have been through many ideals and causes...this election is our chance to really grow to a better place. It all comes down to; this country has to practice those ideals that we have, in the past, sang praises of. The bratty sniping among the Democratic Party candidates and followers is not good for those of us who are dying out here at the hands of the Bush administration. Governor Dean gives us some hope. Be new and different! Ditch the old fashioned pompous dialog and manner. Get better at what you can do so well.

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  72. I watched the J&J Dinner on TV from California where Dean has loads of support. Very impressed with al the Dean support there. One comment: it looked at though somebody forgot to tell Howard where the cameras were. He spent much of his speech with his back to the TV audience! While he might have been talking to his supporters who seemed to be mostly at the far side of the hall, he really needed to connect more with the TV viewing audience. Trippi, or somebody, should notice these things. Go Dean!

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  73. I watched it live on C-Span. It was obvious that the hall was a "Dean" hall. I was a Hart delegate
    to the National Convention in 1984. The Dean people's enthusiasm reminded me of that event.
    Looked great.

    Mary Bertel
    506 Crest Dr.
    Jefferson City, MO

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  74. i heard kerry recruited high schoolers to pack his sections. that exlains all of the kids.

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  75. i heard kerry recruited high schoolers to pack his sections. that explains all of the kids.

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  76. I am so mad that I didnt get to go to JJ. I spent all day with Governor Dean on Friday during the college tour, and many of the people that were on the bus with us got to go to JJ. I wish I would have been one more body shouting my lungs out! We are going to win in January, and again in November!!!!

    I hate to see all this bickering between "Deaniacs" and "Kerry....supporters...they need a name. Anyway, all this will be relative when we are all raising money and campaigning for Dean after we win the nomination!

    See you all at caucus!!

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  77. I am so mad that I didnt get to go to JJ. I spent all day with Governor Dean on Friday during the college tour, and many of the people that were on the bus with us got to go to JJ. I wish I would have been one more body shouting my lungs out! We are going to win in January, and again in November!!!!

    I hate to see all this bickering between "Deaniacs" and "Kerry....supporters...they need a name. Anyway, all this will be relative when we are all raising money and campaigning for Dean after we win the nomination!

    See you all at caucus!!

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  78. I am so mad that I didnt get to go to JJ. I spent all day with Governor Dean on Friday during the college tour, and many of the people that were on the bus with us got to go to JJ. I wish I would have been one more body shouting my lungs out! We are going to win in January, and again in November!!!!

    I hate to see all this bickering between "Deaniacs" and "Kerry....supporters...they need a name. Anyway, all this will be relative when we are all raising money and campaigning for Dean after we win the nomination!

    See you all at caucus!!

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  79. Sorry, I got trigger happy...just call me GW!

    Wait..no...dont do that!!

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  80. Around the Blogs: Rick Klau Reports on JJ

    Rick Klau has an excellent report on his observations (with some great photos to boot) of the Dean presence at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner this weekend in Des Moines. An excerpt: And now on to Dean. The recent National...

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