We had NO idea it would take us nearly three hours to get to the site, which is only 30 miles from our office. But, when you crowd all those vehicles on two lane roads just outside of Indianola, Iowa... I'm not sure what I expected but it was big. Considering over 12,000 people showed up. Which is interesting from just a numbers point of view. There were 33,000 at the Republican Straw Poll in July.
Six of the folks running for office from the Democratic Party were on hand to blast the Bush Administration, the war effort and offer themselves to the crowd as the Iowa Caucus gets closer. I'd give you all the details...but this is not a political blog. Here we talk about advertising and marketing. But, a couple of observations:
Hillary Clinton must have too much money. Honest. Starting at least four miles away from the event there were Hillary signs every three feet. No kidding! Must have been thousands...and if you do the math...that would be 7,040 signs. And, some were in some odd places. She did well with her speech. I asked one of the national reporters about what he thought of the event and the speeches. His only negative note was about her speech. "She's got the 'speech thing' the cadence that 'sing-song' way of speaking. It's kind of a negative." Never mind that...her supporters were in full force.
Chris Dodd was angry. I don't know...he just seems angry. Maybe he is and according to him he has a right to be that way.
Bill Richardson easily had one of the best speeches. I've seen him before and he just gets better. Maybe it's because he's a governor and is used to talking to regular folks? Not as many signs...or supporters as Hillary. But, like one CNN reporter told me, "Richardson seems to be a regular guy and people like that. Not a lot of "air" with him. Substance."
Barack Obama. Good speech...very interesting logo. Really, it is artsy and hip. It is different than we've seen in the past and Kudos to the folks who thought it up. Nice touch. The senator did bus folks to the rally...about three of them we were told.
John Edwards was excellent. Honest. Just enough anger, just enough force. His wife Elizabeth also made the trip and folks were really, really touched by that. Edwards also had some inventive attention grabbers like the platform outside the site that was 30 feet in the air with a hot air balloon basket and a guy sending flames into the air. (Global Warming???) He also had a large crowd...we met one guy from Alaska who is working on the campaign. For some reason he didn't see much use in supporting Mike Gravel...who did not make the trip to Iowa. (Nether did Dennis Kucinich...Hey...I noticed!)
Joe Biden. I was ready for a fantastic speech I had seen him before...but it didn't happen. And for the first time his delivery seemed slow. And...I believe he was the only person to use notes. It showed. The other observation was that Senator Biden just seemed tired. Not sure what was up... But, after the speech he shined. Senator Biden was STILL "holding court" with anybody who would listen a full hour after the event ended. Even if it was just one-on-one.
Senator Biden walking with a reporter...still holding court.
OK...now for the BEST thing to come out of the event: Ready???
Candy Crowley. The senior political correspondent for CNN stayed after most folks had left and just talked with people. No, she was not interviewing them. If anything she was giving interviews. And she was engaged with the folks talking with her. I've always been struck by her straight forward reporting style. She is quite a woman and, I think, was very flattered by the attention she was getting. One lady asked for her autograph. I think Candy wrote a paragraph to the woman. She gave advice to a young woman wanting a career in broadcasting, she laughed, was serious and just enjoyed the people. Candy Crowley...she's not running for anything...but she was a real winner Sunday afternoon...here in the heartland.
Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...now, if only somebody would invite us to a GOP function! (In Iowa...)