DES MOINES--The stage is set for the public Iowa debut of Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, at 12:30 p.m. central time Saturday in a high school gym decked out with "Hillary" banners and chairs set for a big crowd.
The Hillary campaign button: a black and white photo of Clinton doing a thumbs up thing. The copy in red: "I'm in to win!." The bumper stickers have blue background and say "Hillary for President."
Clinton arrived in Iowa on Friday and huddled with Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, who will remain neutral in the 2008 contests--a blow to the man he replaced, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Vilsack starts as a longshot in his own state with the crucial first party caucus in January, 2008. The latest Iowa poll puts John Edwards first at 25 percent followed by Barack Obama at 17; Vilsack at 16, Clinton at 15 and way low, Joe Biden at 4 with undecided, 15.
I just talked with one of people in the audience. She's Dori Boot, from Ankeny, about 15 miles from Des Moines. She is 62, an administrative assistant and not a regular caucus goer.
Background: Iowa's vote is a "caucus," not a primary. People actually have to go to a meeting to take part of a caucus. Votes are counted in a different way. It's a potentially time consuming process. That's why organization is critical to an Iowa campaign; turnout is the key.
Boot said she has no favorite at this point
Clinton, she said, "really knows her stuff." She has eliminated Vilsack. "I just don't think he has the experience and background to handle the United States.
On Edwards, "I just don't know enough about him to have an informed opinion. On Obama, "I think he is a very interesting person." Why, I asked.
"He is articulate,he knows a lot. He is not playing politics as much."