Hillary Clinton was on her game all day Sunday, hitting all the right notes, drawing huge ovations from voters, getting people to commit their support on caucus cards.
And yet, thanks to two of her surrogates, it ended up being a rough press day.
After Clinton finished her last event in Cedar Falls, the BlackBerries of reporters buzzed with an e-mail from the Obama campaign alerting them to the remarks of Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, who disparaged Iowa in a Columbia Dispatch story leading the Drudge Report.
“High-ranking Clinton supporter calls for end of Iowa’s first in the nation status” read the heading on an email from Obama national campaign spokesman, Bill Burton.
Literally seconds later, John Edwards spokesman, Eric Schultz, sent his own email entitled “Strickland: beginning in Iowa makes no sense.”
In the Columbia Dispatch, Strickland was quoted saying that beginning the nominating process in Iowa “makes no sense” and, “I’d like to see both parties say, ‘We’re going to bring this to an end.’”
Drudge also picked up a humorous and harmless story written by the A.P. about how Chelsea Clinton, who, as a rule, refuses to talk to the press. The story featured Chelsea apologetically refusing a 9-year-old Scholastic News reporter an interview.
The good news for the Clinton campaign is that Iowa Democrats probably don’t care all that much at this point what Drudge or the Drudge-influenced national press is saying. The bad news is, as Howard Dean can attest, they kind of do care about challenges to their special status in the primary.
One minor narrative detail: Clinton had apparently not heard about Strickland’s comments by the start of an evening event in Iowa Falls.
“Yesterday,” she said during a part of her stump speech about electability, “I was with Governor Strickland from Ohio who came to campaign for me because he says that I can win Ohio. Because the process to be president begins in Iowa but sometimes ends in Ohio.”
The audience laughed appreciatively.
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