Iowa Democrats ea­ger to hear from elu­sive Clin­ton

Po­ten­tial ’16 ri­vals get ag­gres­sive

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER

Demo­cratic of­fi­cials in Iowa are in­creas­ingly antsy to hear from Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton on the cam­paign trail and are pres­sur­ing her to get out and about even as the undis­puted front-run­ner for her party’s nom­i­na­tion hun­kers down and waits for scan­dals to blow over.

Mrs. Clin­ton hasn’t set foot in the Hawk­eye State since the Tom Harkin steak fry in Septem­ber, an an­nual po­lit­i­cal event where she made amends with vot­ers who opted for Barack Obama in the 2008 pres­i­den­tial cau­cuses and hinted at a come­back run. She has made only a hand­ful of public ap­pear­ances any­where.

Dan Fredrichs, Demo­cratic Party chair­man for Iowa’s Boone County, said he wants to hear from Mrs. Clin­ton “sooner rather than later.”

He voiced con­fi­dence in Mrs. Clin­ton’s abil­ity to win, not­ing her mas­sive lead in polls over po­ten­tial Demo­cratic ri­vals and leads in matchups against ev­ery likely Repub­li­can con­tender.

“We know that we have a vi­able, winnable can­di­date and so on, but we en­cour­age her to put her toe in the wa­ter so that we can get to know her bet­ter as a can­di­date,” he said.

Mr. Fredrichs said he talked with Mrs. Clin­ton at the steak fry and was im­pressed with her abil­ity to en­gage in re­tail pol­i­tick­ing, a must for Iowa’s first-in-the-coun­try nom­i­nat­ing con­test where Mrs. Clin­ton strug­gled in 2008.

“The thing about Iowa is that your mes­sage has to be true,” he said. “She has to share with Iowans their val­ues and be­liefs and speak with a gen­uine voice so that we can say, ‘That is what we think Hil­lary will do for the state of Iowa and ev­ery state be­yond.’”

Cedar County Demo­cratic Party Chair­man Larry Hodg­den said he is ea­ger for Mrs. Clin­ton to come for­ward and re­veal her agenda, which he said re­mains a se­cret.

“We know what she’s done in the past, but elec­tions for pres­i­dent are about the fu­ture and we need to know what Hil­lary Clin­ton wants to bring to the con­test, what is­sues she is gong to work hard for and whether they are is­sues that the pro­gres­sives like me feel need to be ad­dressed,” he said. “Is she go­ing to stand up to Wall Street, is she go­ing to stand up to the big banks and do some­thing about the ris­ing in­equal­ity in this na­tion?”

As other po­ten­tial Demo­cratic con­tenders jockey for po­si­tion this year, Mrs. Clin­ton has pro­vided only vague ref­er­ences to adopt­ing a more lib­eral agenda by us­ing catch­phrases such as “in­come in­equal­ity.”

She has skirted ques­tions about her ex­clu­sive use of pri­vate email for of­fi­cial busi­ness as sec­re­tary of state, say­ing she did be­cause it was con­ve­nient to min­gle per­sonal and of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions. She also has kept quiet about rev­e­la­tions that the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion pock­eted for­eign dona­tions while she was sec­re­tary of state and a fed­eral crony­ism scan­dal that in­volved her brother, An­thony Rod­ham, and two of her close po­lit­i­cal al­lies, cur­rent Vir­ginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and for­mer Penn­syl­va­nia Gov. Ed­ward G. Ren­dell.

The con­tro­ver­sies likely forced Mrs. Clin­ton to de­lay the an­nounce­ment of her pres­i­den­tial run, ac­cord­ing to Demo­cratic strate­gists.

Still, her ab­sence from the cam­paign trail runs the risk of em­bold­en­ing her ri­vals.

For­mer Mary­land Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley, who has ag­gres­sively laid the ground­work in Iowa and New Hamp­shire for a pres­i­den­tial run, took a jab Sun­day at Mrs. Clin­ton and likely Repub­li­can con­tender Jeb Bush, a for­mer Florida gover­nor, say­ing the pres­i­dency isn’t a “crown to be passed be­tween two fam­i­lies.”

It was the first sign that Mrs. Clin­ton could face an­other bru­tal pri­mary race as she did in 2008 against Mr. Obama.

“I think she will have to get out [and cam­paign] soon,” said Susie Dr­ish, Demo­cratic Party chair­woman of Jef­fer­son County, Iowa. “Give us some­thing to get ex­cited about. It’s like when you tell a lit­tle kid Christ­mas is com­ing. OK, when is Christ­mas com­ing?”

Mr. Hodg­den said the Feb. 1 Iowa cau­cuses ap­pear to be Mrs. Clin­ton’s to lose, but she needs to fight for a victory.

“It’s all up to Hil­lary, and it’s up to how they all cam­paign and reach out to Iowans and the mes­sage they want to bring to us,” Mr. Hodg­den said.

In New Hamp­shire, home of the sec­ond nom­i­nat­ing con­test and the na­tion’s first pri­mary elec­tion, the party ac­tivists mostly agreed with Mrs. Clin­ton’s take-it-slow strat­egy and said they were ready to wait as long as it takes for her to shift into cam­paign mode.

“She is so well-known that it doesn’t mat­ter,” said Bert Weiss, New Hamp­shire Demo­cratic Party town chair­man for Chatham. “It would be stupid for her to get out there and say some­thing stupid.”

This ar­ti­cle is based in part on wire ser­vice re­ports.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

For­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton hasn’t been to Iowa since the Tom Harkin steak fry in Septem­ber, an an­nual event where she made amends with vot­ers who opted for Barack Obama in the 2008 cau­cuses and hinted at a come­back run. She has made only a hand­ful of public ap­pear­ances any­where.

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