Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Get The Picture?

Romney Invades Living Room
WEST DES MOINES -- While many candidates continue to hold large rallies during the New Year's holiday, Republican Mitt Romney is campaigning through central Iowa today by holding small house parties.

We attended a house event in a newer upscale area of West Des Moines, where Romney supporters attempted to watch some college football bowl games and shake the candidate's hand.

"We can't even see the damn TV," one man muttered, with a half-smile.

There were probably just as many media in the cramped living room as there were potential caucus-goers. But this is Iowa.

Like Obama, Romney was 25 minutes late. (Again, it's Iowa.)

As we patiently waited for Romney, I overheard a discussion between a young male Romney supporter and a blogger. They were talking about how much impact Mike Huckabee's recent bizarre press conference would have on the race. If you don't know what I'm referring to, here's a quick briefer: Huckabee held a press conference yesterday to declare he decided not to go negative against Mitt Romney, and then played the negative ad he wasn't going to air. (i.e. Huck lands the hit without taking a hit.) Many of the national media have called foul, but local Iowa press seem to be ignoring the political play.

This young partisan argued that will hurt Huckabee. "It will definitely hurt him," the young man said. What about the fact that Iowa media aren't carrying the story, I interjected? "We all have Fox News and CNN too," he replied, noting that some national media found Huckabee's move "desperate."

Another woman who looked to be in her 30s said she was at the house party to meet Mitt. She's a registered Democrat planning to caucus for Romney. Why? She can't even really explain it. "I just really like Mitt," she said. Why not Hil'? "It's like she already was president for 8 years," she added.

When Romney finally arrives, there's a sigh of relief. The room is packed so tight, little kids are crawling through our legs and tripods to get around, the Christmas tree is visibly shaking, and cameramen are knocking into trays of finger foods.

Romney's 26-year-old son Craig spoke glowingly of Dad before introducing him. Romney talked quickly, but hit all his major points: the threat of violent Jihad needs to be confronted aggressively, we need a better free-market system for health care -- NOT "Hillary-Care," we need to raise our education standards to international levels. It's basically the same stump speech I heard Romney give back here in April. But it seeemed to sell with this upper-income Republican crowd.

After reminding the folks, he's not a life-long politician, Romney got serious . . .

"I want you to go to caucus. I need you to go to caucus," Romney said.


"And vote for me multiple times," he added to laughs around the room.

Romney doesn't usually do well with humor. But this instance worked.

Soon after he shook most of the hands in the living room and kitchen, he was out the door -- outmaneuvering the media swarm and on to another "house party."

No comments: