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Report From Iowa

Friday, November 2, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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My pal “Classic” is a Romney supporter in small town Iowa.  He sent along this report of a Romney visit last week.  This is the way presidential politics works in Iowa and New Hampshire, and why it is actually an excellent way to vet the field.  The candidates get support the old-fashioned way –by asking for it one-on-one:

A few days ago I received a phone call inviting me to
attend an informal small meet and greet with Governor
Romney as he traveled from one “Ask Mitt” to another.
On Tuesday night, I received a message asking if I
would help introduce people from my small town to the
governor.[# More #]

After picking up my two school age children for this
educational and historica visit, we arrived at the
facility where the event was being met.  I visited
with staff people I had met during an event in
January.

As people gathered in the designated part of the
building for the governor’s visit, I spotted Byron
York.  Dressed comfortably in a black blazer and jeans
I borrowed him from a Romney staffer for a photograph
of the two of us.

As he and I talked, he realized that I am part of a
niche demographic that is very important to the
Governor, both in the primaries and the general
election.  He asked for some contact information, so I
gave him my personal e-mail address and home phone
number.

By now my wife had arrived.  The four of us sat down
in the foyer of the building.  Soon Governor Romney
came bouncing up the steps, with crisp white long
shirt rolled up between wrist and elbow, and greeted
me by name.  He graciously obliged when I asked for a
family picture with him.

This is subjective, but it seemed to me today that
Governor Romney is even more confident than when I met
him 9 months ago.  He has even more charisma.  Perhaps
it is because he is a front runner in most of the
early states.  Maybe it is because he has been tested
on the campaign trail and in the debates.  It could be
because he was coming off a rousing meeting at a
private college with approximately 400 people!  Then
again, it could be a combination of all of those and
more.

He was escorted to the speaking area by an aide and we
followed him.  I was told after the event that because
there were more people than expected that he wanted to
give a more substantive talk.  By the way, I had first
been told the campaign expected 40 or 50.  Today I was
told (after the event) more like 20 had been expected.
The actual attendance?  73 (counted by my younger
child–I’m pretty sure she didn’t count the legs and
forget to divide by two!).

After apologizing for being 15 minutes late (saying,
“I hate to be late!”), he launched into his standard
stump speech of Strong military.  Strong economy.
Strong families.”  He mixed in local items, as well as
the recent Democratic debate.

When he was done, he opened it up to questions, which
included “the Bain Way,” (see below), foreign and
domestic pharmaceuticals, college education, and more.
After the meeting one staffer (a conservative
political science graduate from the University of
Colorado!) commented on how good the questions
where–how relevant, appropriate, and rubber meets the
road.

Then the governor greeted as many people as wanted to
shake his hand.  One person had him sign a Romney
t-shirt from the Iowa Straw Poll event.  Another
person who shook his hand is the chair of the
Democratic party in this party.  During the speech,
the governor more than once spoke of the need to talk
and work with Democrats on solutions for the benefit
of the country.

When I had arrived at the facility I had been asked to
provide local color on a quick tour of the facility.
To get back on time to his next event, he skipped that
tour.

Getting back to the Bain Way question.  A few weeks
ago I dropped in on a friend who runs two retirement
businesses in town.  He is a conservative Christian,
as am I.  He registered surprise at my support of
Romney.  I loaned him Hugh’s “A Mormon President?”
book.

This gentleman’s question about the Bain Way showed
that he had read the book and understood the principle
of leadership involved.  This person has moved from
being a skeptic to a strong Romney reporter.  He was
holding three Romney lawn signs in his hand and, I’m
told, had tried to make a contribution when he arrived
at the event!

In the parking lot, a staffer told me she was driving
a couple hours to lead a caucus training event.  The
work goes on and the Romney team keeps its eye on the
prize–vote by vote; delegate by delegate; to get
nominated.  And then plans from there….

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