The Waterford at Ames Assisted Living retirement home had Christmas figurines, walkers and listless seniors in its lobby. As Ms. Gilman went to plead with a stern, thick-armed manager for access to the dining room during dinner, the New York contingent waited around, contemplating unfinished puzzles, discussing who would get the Des Moines Register endorsement and trying to win more converts. (“You going to caucus?” Mr. Patricof asked a woman sitting in front of her walker.)
The manager allowed the bundlers to visit a few Clinton enthusiasts with whom the campaign had had some contact. Lenore Pearey, an elderly woman who lived in a room packed with scores of porcelain and stuffed dolls, had Hillary’s name painted on all of her nails. (“I’m trying to promote her by my fingernails,” she explained.) When she complained from the depths of a love seat that she had no way of getting to a caucus the bundlers burst out in chorus: “We’ll get you a ride.”
A few minutes later, Mr. Nemazee and Mr. Patricof tried together to convince another avid Hillary supporter, Marie Baldus, to go to caucus.
“I can’t,” she said. “My legs.”
“It’s really, really important,” said Mr. Nemazee.
“A reason we have George Bush is because a lot of people didn’t make the effort,” added Mr. Patricof.
“Oh, yes,” she agreed. “But my legs.”
The retirement home’s manager came to the room to tell the New Yorkers that they couldn’t campaign at dinnertime because it could upset residents with dementia. Mr. Patricof protested and Ms. Duke, ever the ambassador, tried to assure the woman that they would leave immediately at the first sign that their presence was a disturbance. The manager refused.
Ms. Gilman, who bounced around like she her shoes had been corked, took it upon herself to console the group, and suggested that they prospect for Hillary supporters at a local farmer’s market.
After another short drive, Mr. Nemazee got out of the car, sidestepped the mix of grey sludge and ice that divided the cars. “Alan,” he called out. “Where’s Alan. He forgot the keys to lock the door.”
“Uh, we don’t have money if we want to buy things,” added Ms. Patricof.
Mr. Patricof waved them off and kept walking. “I have money,” he said.
The group entered a small store that sold soaps, artisanal napkins, ceramics and homemade cookies, which were dispersed on plates around the store. A young couple paid $15 to pile an assortment of the cookies into white Styrofoam containers. Mr. Patricof muttered that the cost seemed a bit steep.
Mr. Nemazee introduced himself and the rest of the group to the two women minding the store and then made his pitch for Hillary. “We know her,” he said. “We know her and we came all the way up from New York to talk about her.”
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