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Anecdotal Evidence, August 5: In Iowa, we don’t pick the president

Lars Gesing, CU News Corps Assistant Director

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

Are a bunch of white farmers picking our president? No.

Donna Hoffman. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Donna Hoffman. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Donna Hoffman – Political Scientist, University of Northern Iowa

“I collect political cartoons that characterize Iowa in a stereotypical way. I show them to students. Often times, not in this case, but often it is a characterization of a white farmer in overalls and a farm hat, and beside him is the stereotypical New Hampshirite, who is also an old white guy and has lots of clothes on because it is cold in New Hampshire.

“There is an implicit criticism there, ‘You people who aren’t like the rest of us, why are you picking the president?’ That is not true. It is about winnowing down the field. And quite frankly, we do due diligence for everyone else. We have to watch the commercials. We have to put up with the traffic jams when candidates come to town. We are doing a service. But most other states are not going to look at it that way.”

***

“The caucuses do that to people – they honestly believe they are important”

David Roederer. Photo: Handout

David Roederer. Photo: Handout

David Roederer – Longtime Terry Branstad Advisor, 2008 McCain Iowa Caucus Campaign Manager

“I get a call from folks who ask if I would go and meet with John McCain in Washington, D.C. I said that wasn’t necessary. I didn’t need to meet with a presidential candidate to make up my mind. I get another call and someone said, ‘We’d really like you to meet with Sen. McCain.’ I said, ‘If Sen. McCain gets out here sometime, I’d be happy to do that.’ So then I get a third call and the person said, ‘We understand you are refusing to meet with Sen. McCain.’ ‘No, no, no. I never refused to meet with him.’

“They said, ‘We’ll pay your air fare.’ ‘You don’t have to do that.’ ‘Well, do you ever get to Washington?’ ‘Yeah I’ll be there next week.’ I didn’t think they were going to make that work. They said, ‘Can you meet with us?’

“So I went into Sen. McCain’s office, and I said, ‘Senator, first of all, I apologize for taking your time. You are an American hero. You shouldn’t waste your time talking to people like me.’ The caucuses do that to some people, they get a bigger head. They honestly believe they are important. We are only important until after the caucuses and then everybody’s gone.

“There are all these things that he has done in his life, and now I go in and ask him if he is fit to be president of the United States?”

***

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Explanatory multimedia reporting from CU Boulder journalism students
Anecdotal Evidence, August 5: In Iowa, we don’t pick the president