December 14, 2007 3:55 PM
Clinton: "no predictability...no inevitability"
Watch for M.E. on CNN just after 8 a.m. EASTERN on Sunday.
Photo by M.E. Sprengelmeyer
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton needs all the friends she can get these days.
Some polls suggest that Sen. Barack Obama has erased her leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Meanwhile, she was forced to apologize on Thursday for a (now former) campaign official's remarks pointing to Obama's teenage drug use.
At a press conference this morning in Johnston, a theater filled with reporters was ready to pounce after her appearance taping the public television show "Iowa Press."
In the Iowa media -- which, in some ways, is all that matters to the campaigns these days -- Boswell's endorsement of Clinton overshadowed some more difficult questions at the press conference.
National reporters wanted Clinton to disavow her now-former campaign official's comments about Obama. They wanted a pledge that questions of teenage behavior were off limits in the campaign. And somebody in the back even asked Clinton to say whether she had used drugs as a teenager. (No, she said, saying that question had been covered in the past.)
But something else happened at the press conference.
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For the first time in our nine months in Iowa, Sen. Clinton finally took a question from "Back Roads to the White House."
We wanted Clinton to think back to those days during the campaign when her staff reportedly was suggesting that she skip Iowa altogether, saving her money and precious time for states that will be part of the national mega-contest on Super-Duper Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008.
Since she has invested substantially in Iowa and still trails Sen. Barack Obama in the most recent polls, did she have any second thoughts about rejecting their advice?
Clinton did not pause.
"No," she told us.
"You know, I guess I’ve been in enough campaigns over a lot of years to know that there is no predictability and there certainly is no inevitability. You have to get out and work for every single vote. That’s what I’ve always done. I don’t know any other way to do it."
"That’s what I’m doing in Iowa. You know we’re going to start on Sunday a 99-county blitz. We’re going to have as many people as we can covering this state, making the case for my candidacy, making the argument as to why I’d be the best president and why I would be the best Democrat to beat the Republicans. And I like what I’m doing in Iowa. I like the experience of being in these settings where I have to make my case, answer questions, and it has been a wonderful learning experience, and in many cases a great opportunity to make really sure that I am connecting with voters."
"We’re bringing thousands and thousands of new people into this caucus, people who have never, ever caucused before. They never even registered to vote before. And I feel like it’s really grass-roots democracy at its very best, so I’m having a great time doing it."
"I always knew it would be hard. There’s no surprise about that. I don’t live in a neighboring state. I haven’t been here for years. I didn’t campaign here, because Bill never participated because of Sen. Harkin. So I always knew it would be hard. There’s nothing surprising about that to me. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you don’t do it. And I’m happy I’m doing it.”
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UPDATE: We'll call this the "Pick and Roll"
Earvin "Magic" Johnson is joining team Clinton -- campaigning in Waterloo and Davenport, Iowa, on Tuesday with former President Bill Clinton.
And talk about "flooding the zone..."