Iowa: A Mitt Romney House Party

Today's afternoon delight was a Mitt Romney house party at the home of Ann Warren and family. It was in a suburban neighborhood where the houses are all white or beige and look almost identical.

Jane and I were among the first to arrive, well before any other media. Ann welcomed us in and didn't seem to mind we were bloggers.

After chatting with Oscar Poale, above, a former minister who now owns a Georgia Bar-B-Q place and shows up at a lot of Romney events, I began talking to Rich, who lives a few doors down from the Warrens.


Rich was in attendance because a Romney campaign volunteer knocked on his door and invited him. He's 37, has a wife and 2 kids and moved here a few years ago from Reno, NV. He's an evangelical, and at the start of today's house party, is undecided who he will caucus for -- it's between Romney and McCain. He thinks a Governor has a better chance than a Senator. But, he likes McCain's war experience and what he's said about Pakistan. On the other hand he said, Romney did some good stuff as Governor.

As an evangelical, he's not too concerned about Romney's Mormonism. He likes that Romney has been married to the same woman for so long and has a close family. I ask him about Huckabee and he says he has some concerns -- he thinks Huckabee advertises his religion as a selling point.

The place fills up, mostly it seems, with reporters. There are huge video cameras on tripods with beefy cameramen behind them. I say hello to Dana Milbank from the Washington Post. I grab a seat on the floor in front of the videocameras and Andrew Romano, who writes Newsweek's Stumper blog, joins me. He's a 25, a Princeton graduate who very much resembles Toby McGuire from Spiderman. I comment on how squished we are in this den off the kitchen, a room about 12 feet by 20 feet, with video cameras, cameramen, toddlers, neighbors and tons of reporters already in place. He tells me the press bus hasn't even arrived yet.

The press bus arrives a few minutes later and now we're like sardines. I'm sorry I left my shoes at the front door because I just know someone is going to step on my sock-clad toes. Andrew and I part ways and I move all the way to the front.

Finally Mitt and the Mittmobile arrive and Mitt makes his entry.

He's at ease and confident. He looks good. I think he's more appealing-looking now that his hair is graying around the temples. He reminds me of Warren Beatty in his early days.

Since I was right in front of him, I turned on my camcorder and filmed the whole thing. I'll post some of the video when I figure out how to download it to the computer. He talked for 15 minutes or so, about jihadists, education, health care, religion and family. His son spoke too and told what he thought was a cute story about his own 18 month old son who's been on the campaign trail with him. Then it's over and the most of the press make a beeline to the door.

Romney stayed inside a while longer to chat with reporters. Jane heard him talking to the LeMonde reporters in French. Then he left, here's a picture I took just before I introduced myself and shook his hand.

On my way out, I found Rich, the neighbor, and asked if he had made up his mind yet. He told me he's now leaning towards Romney. Whether that's the way he caucuses though is anybody's guess.

As for tonight, Jane just left for a Huckabee event. Since Iíve had my fill of Republicans for the day, Iím going to stay in and catch up with news about the Democratic candidates. Tomorrow there will be more events as we get down to the wire. John Mellencamp will be stumping with John Edwards and thatís a must-see for both Jane and me.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Wonder where all of the reporters came from. (none / 0) (#1)
    by JSN on Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 07:53:20 PM EST
    In Iowa City there may be a blogger at a house party but no reporters. The reporters may or may not show up at a public meeting at the library or some other public place.

    Otherwise what you reported is typical except there are food and drinks (normally with about a half dozen sponsors of the party) and they often ask for a modest contribution at the door. Some friends who frequently host such parties had the candidate stand on a chair when they give their stump speech because the crowds were so thick.  

    I don't recall a candidate using a bus in previous years but it seems to be common this year. No doubt the communications systems in the bus are pretty spiffy.

    there was tons of food (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 08:16:04 PM EST
    and it was good and free.

    don't they know who you are? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jgarza on Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 08:59:57 PM EST
    I grab a seat on the floor in front of the videocameras and Andrew Romano,

    how dare they make you sit on the floor!


    the pictures are priceless (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jgarza on Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 09:04:25 PM EST
    Were you ever a reporter? nice details in your writing.

    Man can you put up a pic of this Toby Maguire look a like? and maybe pass along my number too?

    thanks (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 12:01:02 AM EST
    for the compliment. I don't have a picture of Newseek's Andrew Romano but he really is a cutie -- he also looks more like 16 than 25.

    i understand there's a pill (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 02:20:24 AM EST
    available, to counter the effects of "accute republican bowel syndrome". :)

    Since I've had my fill of Republicans for the day,

    it stops the body's natural urge to turn completely right-sided.

    WSWS: campaigns devoid of politics (none / 0) (#7)
    by Andreas on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 08:27:39 AM EST
    The most interesting information in that report is that the publisher of Talkleft liked to shake hands with the fascist Mitt Romney, a proponent of torture ("I want to make sure that what happened to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed happens to other people who are terrorists") and declared enemy of the rule of law who supports the torture camp in Guantanamo.


    The WSWS writes today:

    Both parties would be considered right-wing in any other advanced capitalist country--the Republican Party semi-fascist or extreme right, the Democrats conservative or center-right. ...

    The campaigns of the main candidates have been remarkably devoid of actual politics. On the Democratic side, the competition between Obama, Clinton and Edwards largely revolves around different styles, tones and attitudes, and a series of petty incidents involving campaign misconduct of one sort or another, rather than actual policy differences.

    On the Republican side, each major candidate represents an antagonistic faction of a party that appears on the brink of disintegration: Romney, Wall Street; Huckabee, the Christian right; McCain, the military and Iraq war enthusiasts; Giuliani, the hardliners for the "war on terror;" Thompson, the Southern-based party establishment.

    On the eve of the Iowa caucuses
    Corporate money, media manipulation and the US elections

    By Patrick Martin, 2 January 2008

    He looks good... (none / 0) (#8)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 10:30:44 AM EST
    He looks good. I think he's more appealing-looking now that his hair is graying around the temples. He reminds me of Warren Beatty in his early days.

    Yeah, he looks $190million to $300million good.

    An aging Ken doll (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 04:18:22 PM EST
    with a proportionate degree of human sponteneity and imagination.

    The ideal Stepford conservative (they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they're pretty much all the same..)