From the Trail

Written by

sealBwog, having watched the progress of the Iowa caucus from its comfy couch for the last week, decided to check in with a few Columbians spending their vacations stumping the Hawkeye state for their candidates of choice. Considering it’s – 4 degrees outside, you’d have to be insane, or, well…insane. One note: those featured are all working for Democrats. For this, we apologize. If you know any Columbia Republicans slaving away on campaigns, please let us know. 

With less than 24 hours to go, Iowa is buzzing! It seems as though the major focus, not just for the Hillary campaign but for all of the campaigns, is to make sure our supporters show up. Only 6% of Iowans caucus and as a result, we are attempting to reach every single supporter either on their door or on their phone before tomorrow at 6:30 to implore them to show up. I have spent a great deal of time over the past week with voters and crossing the state and you can feel the energy–Iowans are excited! What I also find remarkable is the seriousness with which they take their role as the first state and their historic mission of caucusing. Earlier in the week when we were on the doors
stefattempting to sway the undecided it was apparent that Iowans know their stuff! They follow these campaigns very closely and are more than willing to talk about what they observe. For example, many people, even those who were firmly supporting another candidate, would invite you in to talk politics for 10 minutes, which was very refreshing to hear! As the excitement builds, I am eager and anxious for tomorrow!

– Stef Goodsell, CC ’09, Intern Coordinator, Hillary Clinton for President

Ten days of my vacation spent in Iowa, and of my own volition! Fresh from exams and after a brief detour to Boston, I hopped on a plane to Des Moines to help Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) win the Iowa caucuses, or, more precisely, to help him get a strong finish. Consistently polling at 2% in statewide polls, Dodd is not causing Senators Clinton, Obama, or Edwards to lose much sleep. Nevertheless, the bold policies which Senator Dodd advocates and his principled stances on civil liberties issues convinced me to support his candidacy.

One nice thing about working for a campaign that has no delusions of running the tables on caucus night is that the candidate is more accessible. Upon arriving in Des Moines on Christmas Day, I met up with the campaign at an ice skating event with the Senator and his family. Afterwards, the Dodds invited staffers and volunteers back to their house (they have temporarily relocated to Iowa) for chili and hot chocolate. At the house, I chatted with the Senator about his recent 11-hour filibuster of the FISA bill, which would have granted retroactive immunity to telecom companies that wrongfully disclosed private information.

Since this exciting intro to the Iowa caucuses, I have been canvassing, phone-banking, and staffing the Senator’s events in both Des Moines and Dubuque. Today, the day before the caucus, I canvassed at the home of former Congressman Mike Blouin. This was exciting because he and his family were still unsure whether they would support Senator Dodd or Senator Biden. Experiences like this have
jondemonstrated just how meticulous and patient a campaign must be to cultivate supporters in the Iowa caucus. The support of a former Congressman can make or break a candidacy in certain parts of the state, and campaigns must work tirelessly to secure important endorsements, even in the last days of the campaign.

– Jonathan Backer, CC ’10, volunteer for Chris Dodd, Columbia College Dems Media Director. Jonathan also blogs at Veracifier, and shills on the Dodd site.


Some Columbians were a bit too busy to give Bwog the time of day. The following is a response to our request from an anonymous Obama staffer.

From: [redacted]

to: Lydia DePillis <lbd2102@columbia.edu>

date: Jan 1, 2008 9:27 PM

subject: Re: Bwog dispatch?












  1. conclusion

    obama's people are the only ones working hard enough to win.

    and if they do, god help us when they all get appointments in washington.

  2. predictions!

    (approx 10-15 point spread)
    Richardson/Dodd tied

    (approx 5-10 point spread)
    Thompson/Paul Tied


  3. go backer!

    that guy's got cojones.

  4. alexw  

    Everyone is backing the wrong candidate because the right candidate is Obama and if you disagree then you are wrong.

  5. fuck iowa

    new hampshire is where it is at.

    • sure

      2004: dean is up 30 points in NH until the day after losing iowa. result: kerry takes NH too.

      of course, this year's losers probably won't let loose some banshee scream. but the point is that iowa is important.

    • Horny?  

      #11, you must be lonely or something. Not to take anything away from Ms. Goodsell, but among the thousands of 17-23 year old women at this school, I don't know that I'd call her "quite cute." She's not unattractive or anything, I'm just saying, the picture doesn't inspire me.

      Incidentally, "Goodsell"? And she's campaigning? Now that, my friend, is quite cute.

  6. rjt

    Stef Goodsell is an American hero.

    Also, Chris Dodd looks like Peter Gallagher, which makes me imagine him in a debate shouting, "DO YOU LIKE GETTING NAILED BY THE KING?" And then Hillary probably shouts out, "YES, YOUR MAJESTY!"

  7. yay!

    so excited for the caucus! fingers crossed edwards has a strong showing and keeps this a three way race!

  8. NH!

    What about NH staffers? We're working our asses off in 4 degree weather, too.

    PS: Goodsell and Backer, I love you both.

  9. gco  

    hi bwog,
    you guys should get in touch with lukas mcgowan, cc 07. he's been working for obama in iowa since the summer, all for today. i'm sure he'd be a very interesting interview.

  10. c'09

    i thought jon backer was c'10... but either way, i don't know the guy too well, but i agree that he is a seriously smart dude (and friendly, too).

  11. backer is

    the shit. smartest kid i ever met.

  12. hope  

    Let's hope Huckabee doesn't win.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, if you're a democrat, you should hope Huckabee does win Iowa and the nomination. As the Republican presidential candidate, his evangelical views will turn off 99% of independents, who'll turn to the democratic candidate no matter who it is, and his uneducated foreign policy views will make him the butt of a lot of jokes, a la Bush (except without Karl Rove to get him elected).

      I do have to admit, though, that he was surprisingly likable on Leno last night, and played a pretty good bass guitar. If this election was for the inauguration ball band, he'd have my vote.

      • ass

        Wow, way to assume that #20 is a democrat. This person is probably a Republican who dislikes Huckabee.

        Also, your analysis ain't worth shit. Turn off 99% of Independents? Right, because having religious right views are bad for a politician...haha. C'mon, Bush capitalized on evangelical support, talked up evangelical issues, and still won (at least once).

        As you identified, he is very likeable and I think that will be huge for his appeal to independents. Yes, I agree his foreign policy "views" (which are really just empty and often incorrect statements, but nothing in the way of "policy") are ridiculous; however, keep in mind that the top three Dem contenders are weak on foreign policy experience and someone like McCain will really own on that. Biden recently disparaged Hillary Clinton's idiotic statement on Musharaff running for election in Pakistan, when he's the Prez and these elections are parliamentary. That's just a taste of the leading Dems' weakness on foreign policy

  13. lol

    Let me just correct jon backers school year, note that I don't know him at all though ,but also comment on how brilliant and friendly he is. lol, mildly pathetic johno

  14. what is Obama's  

    favorite part of New York City?

    Barack-afeller Center!

  15. anti-rjt

    Rob Trump gets nailed by suckiness on a regular basis.

    Hillary Clinton once said, "Rob Trump? What a deuche."

    Barack Obama once said, "Rob Trump? Suck my 5th amendment."

  16. omg

    CNN is calling Iowa for Huckabee.

  17. ROAR  

    NYTimes calling for Obama and Huckabee!

  18. yo backer

    so much for chris dodd, eh?

  19. 23 is wrong

    #23 is an ass, and 22 is definitely right. go obama and go huckabee for getting the nomination because he would be so easy to cream in debates

    • see

      you also don't seem to know much about huckabee or politics generally. How exactly do you expect him to get creamed in the debates? He was actually really good in the GOP debates and arguably won them. Underestimate him at your peril.

      #32 says he doesn't like Huckabee. That's fine, but unfortunately Columbia is not representative of the country. You can look at the polls, you can look at the response he gets as people get to know him in Iowa and elsewhere, whatever...bottom line is that people like him more as they get to know him.

      • Don't

        buy into the hype... quarantining AIDS patients and creationism are still just *slightly* extreme views in America. Huckabee is a sincere version of Bush, and nobody likes sincerity.

        On the other hand, I'm rooting for Huckabee to win the GOP nomination -- worst case, Dems win thanks to Huckabee's craziness. Best case... President Bloomberg!

  20. Huckabeee

    Huckabee may be likABLE, but I don't like him.

  21. Checkit

    Jonathan backer and juan pedro lamata are gods

  22. WOOOOO


    jpl is awesome, sorry backer for the loss, but you're still awesome as well.

  23. ha, seconded

    i knew that that email was from juan the second i read it. there's no need to redact that shit - keep bwog in its place and keep fighting the good fight kid. much love

    also, it should be noted that jon backer is the shit

  24. alexw

    1) Go Obama.

    2) If it's Huckabee vs. Obama, Huckabee gets creamed.

    • its funny  

      That here people assume that Americans will

      a) disavow extreme religious believes and
      b) disavow long-held prejudice

      in 2008.

      Keep in mind two things re Obama:
      1) Obama is from Iowa's neighbor-state Illinois
      2) Primary voters tend to drink the party Kool-Aid

      In a general election, Obama needs to overcome the white-sheet set, which (as you may have heard around campus last semester) is more prevalent than thought even in progressive places

      • Wait

        Let's be fair, despite Mencken et al, it's still a little silly to assume most people in the country are blinded by political-religious fervor. Every now and then something happens to remind us that they just get to be on TV a lot more than everyone else.

      • man

        chill. everyone knows there's a lot of evangelicals and they like huckabee. most of those dudes are solid republicans. he doesn't get crossover votes like mccain.

        two things to keep in mind for you:
        1) Iowa is full of white people.
        2) Obama got a lot of support from independents, who probably aren't "drinking the party Kool-Aid"
        3) Kool-Aid is delicious, especially Cherry

  25. number 31

    i do know a thing or two about politics, and i'm not underestimating huckabee's popular appeal, im saying he'll be creamed in the debates. He had no idea what the iran intelligence report was when it came out, he knows absolutely zero about foreign policy, and most republicans agree with me.

    • prep

      The problem with that is that he'll be well prepared for those debates. Now I know Huck's had a lot of gaffes recently, and I'm not a big fan. But Obama has had some gaffe's of his own, like hinting at bombing Pakistan, referring to Canada's "president" (they don't have one), and saying 10,000 people died in last year's Kansas tornadoes.

      There's no better example of how Huckabee will be prepped than his appearance on Meet the Press and his responses to Tim Russert's questions on Pakistan. "It's 164 million people, 97 percent of them are Muslim," he told Russert.

      George W. Bush knew nothing about foreign policy either in 2000. And yet he performed well against Gore in the debates, and polling suggested he did well in them. We don't live in a pure world where the smartest guy wins. The other thing is that likability is huge. A lot of people vote on character, moral values, who they'd have a drink with, etc. Huckabee has great personal characteristics that might provide some cover for his policy flaws.

      At the end of the day, though, John McCain is the Dems worst nightmare.

      • Russert

        Wow. He can memorize a sentence from the CIA world fact book? Gee. Then he certainly deserves to be our next president. Such a display of intellect cannot be belittled.

        • well

          If you saw or read the interview, you'd notice that his prep went beyond just those Pakistan numbers. The point, which you miss, is that usually these presidential debates are meaningless unless someone falters. Huckabee, like Obama, will be heavily prepped.

  26. racism

    White supremacists are a blip on the radar screen today. They're fervent, but insignificant.

  27. number 31

    i agree, mccain is definitely the dems worst nightmare. I still stand by the fact that a Huckabee/Obama showdown is the best scenario for the Democrats, because Obama is extremely personable and likeable like Huckabee but has the intelligence to back it up (he won't be painted as a stiff bore like Gore. Even Huckabee has said that he likes him.)

    My gut feeling is that the independents are going blue this year - they really went red last time. Iowa and other swing states that were red last time are going to be blue this year. Iowa is definitely going blue this year, democrat turnout was more than double the republicans at the caucus.

  28. rjt

    Not weighing in politically, I have no idea how Obama could lose in the "want-to-have-a-drink-with-this-guy" department: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6554107


    That girl's picture has been driving me nuts for the past few days. I could not for my life figure out why she seemed so familiar. Now I got it.

    Dennis Kucinich!!!

  30. what

    will happen to poor J Backer now that Dodd has pulled out of the race?

  31. apathetic

    hm, i never paid much attention to the republican candidates until now

    and all i have to say is

    i could never see fred thompson as president. he looks so busted.

    mitt romney is a hottie though

  32. sane

    The front runners right now are all pro-government-spending maniacs. Sock away as much money as you can before the government takes it away from you.

  33. god help us

    if huckabee becomes president. i'm moving to canada.

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.