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Anecdotal Evidence — July 28: Shooting hoops with Obama

Lars Gesing, CU News Corps Assistant Director

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Logo final_highIn our Anecdotal Evidence column, each day movers and shakers share personal stories of how intriguing (and often odd) presidential campaigning in their respective swing state can be.

 

“Little Dude… My man lost a tooth!”

Iowa GOP Presidential Campaign Veteran Eric Woolson. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Iowa GOP Presidential Campaign Veteran Eric Woolson. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Eric Woolson — Iowa presidential campaign veteran, Scott Walker communications director

“In the summer of 1999, my wife was traveling, and I ended up with my then 8-year-old son Brooks. Gov. George W. Bush had just flown in, he was on a private jet. We were going to do a quick one-on-one interview with KCCI, which is a big local station. I remember saying to Brooks, ‘Just stay here, stay out of trouble.’ The governor comes down the steps. And the first thing Brooks does is [opens his mouth] ‘I lost a tooth!’ So there is George W. Bush with his fingers in my kids’ mouth, looking at this missing tooth. He always called my son, ‘Little Dude’ for some reason. He goes, ‘Little Dude… my man lost a tooth!’

“The TV camera is right there. And I am thinking, ‘I’m out of work!’ It led on the 10 o’clock news. The next morning, my boss called me up from Austin. I was ready for the worst. And she says, ‘How did you arrange that?’ I said, ‘I didn’t.’ She goes, ‘It was great. It was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.'”

***

Shooting hoops with the president

Iowa Democratic Political Consultant Frank Chiodo

Iowa Democratic Political Consultant Frank Chiodo. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Frank Chiodo – Democratic consultant, former Iowa state representative & deputy secretary of state

“President Obama played basketball on every Election Day. That tradition started here. It was the night before the caucuses in 2008. Reggie Love and a guy by the name of Alexi Giannoulias, who is from Illinois and is a friend of the president, were cornered by the president’s brother-in-law: ‘You’ve got to get him away from it all tomorrow morning for a little bit. Find a gym, go play basketball for a couple of hours.’ Alexi said, ‘The only guy I know is Frank.’ So here come Reggie and Alexi and ask, ‘Hey, do you want to play basketball tomorrow morning? I said, ‘Sure!’ He goes, ‘Do you have a gym?’ I go, ‘Yeah. Here is a location, we’ll play at 8 o’clock.’ He doesn’t tell me Obama is going to come.

“I remember this like it was yesterday. At 6.30 in the morning, my phone starts ringing. It’s ringing and ringing. I’m not answering. Now it is 7.30. It is Alexis calling me, and I answer: ‘What? I’m on my way!’ ‘Well, the Secret Service needs to get in.’ ‘Why do they need to get in?’ And he says: ‘Well, Obama is doing the morning shows, and then he is coming to play basketball.’

“The president shows up, and we ended up playing for two hours with a couple of my friends, a couple of his friends from high school and a couple of staffers. Nobody knew where he was while we were playing basketball. That’s how it started. He played in Iowa and won, he didn’t play in New Hampshire and lost – and so it just became his big thing. That’s the things that happen in this state.”

***

Senator’s daughters don’t like preschool bullies

Polk County Democrats Chair Tom Henderson. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Polk County Democrats Chair Tom Henderson. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Tom Henderson – Chair of Iowa Polk County Democrats

“Senator Chris Dodd ran for president back in 2008. He is a really good man. My family got to know him and his family really well. There was a day when they asked if we could watch their daughters. They came over to our house. Here are Chris Dodd’s daughters in our basement, playing with my son, who happened to be the same age. He was in preschool then. They had a great time. But there was a time when he was bugging her, so she popped him one – and he deserved it.”

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Explanatory Multimedia Reporting from CU Boulder Journalism Students
Anecdotal Evidence — July 28: Shooting hoops with Obama