Telling Detail

January 18, 2004

There’s a world of difference between the detail and the telling detail, and while the weekend’s campaign coverage contains plenty of the former, you can never have too much of the latter.

It’s one day until the voices of Iowa Democrats are heard across America and the latest poll indicates that, although only five percent of likely voters remain “undecided”, 47 percent could “still be persuaded to support another candidate.”

This adds even more credence to the theory that this election is coming down to which organization has the ability to reach out to as many voters as possible. It has been widely reported that both Gov. Howard Dean and Sen. John Edwards have visited all 99 counties in Iowa. This might not mean that much to anyone outside of Iowa, but a Washington Post article by Dan Balz this Sunday graphically illustrates just what it means to campaign in every corn field and gas station in Iowa. The third paragraph of the piece depicts an all-out battle . . . for what Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack calls “eight voters.”

“I’m going to tell you how tight this is,” Vilsack said in an interview with Balz Friday evening. “Ever been to Pella, Iowa? There are eight Democrats in Pella, on a good day. But Dean was there [Monday]. I drove through there today, and Gephardt’s bus was there. If those guys are scouring the hills in Pella, Iowa, for Democrats, this thing is close. Anybody who tells you how this is going to turn out — they’re crazy.”

Nice touch, Dan.


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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.