DES MOINES, IA.—Good afternoon. Greetings from the epicenter of the Democratic presidential political world. All six major Democratic candidates are here for tonight’s giant Jefferson Jackson Day dinner sponsored by the Iowa Democratic Party. Sweet live blogging starts now.
The JJ dinner is a potential narrative-changing showdown of sorts for the three front-runners: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.); Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)
The Obama campaign is using the JJ dinner to flex its organizational muscles and to show—not tell—that it is running a superior ground game in this first caucus state.
Some 9,000 party activists are expected to attend, with the Obama and Clinton campaign transporting thousands of supporters to the dinner and organizing massive displays of peaceful confrontations in Sign Wars.
The speeches begin at 7 p.m. central and can be seen live on C-SPAN.
Winning the Jan. 3 caucus depends very much on getting your voters to physically show up and participate in a caucus where the voting is in public. There are no absentee or secret ballots. That’s why the depth of a field organization is so important in Iowa.
The Obama campaign gave me a fill on what it is up to this evening—and it looks like they may be earning major bragging rights.
*Of the 9,000 people in Veterans Memorial Auditorium, the Obama backers will total about 3,000—or at least that’s how many tickets for the bleachers the campaign has distributed.
*The Obama campaign is making sure supporters from all 99 Iowa counties will attend.
*They plan some over-the top signage display.
* In a sort of a test run for caucus night, where getting people to the right place is key, these Obama supporters will be seated in the bleachers by region, with the Obama staffer assigned to their region.
That’s the kind of hands-on retail meticulous organization that brings people out on caucus night.