Nagle: Obama "throwing Iowa under bus" with calendar commission
Dave Nagle told Iowa Independent that Barack Obama is "throwing Iowa under the bus" by supporting a commission to study the Democratic nomination calendar. That commission will be headed by Debbie Dingell of Michigan, one of the fiercest opponents of Iowa's first in the nation role.
"The creation of this commission is a clear sellout to Hillary Clinton," said Nagle, who chaired the Iowa Democratic Party during the 1984 caucuses and served in Congress from 1986 to 1992.
Clinton supporters have been critical of the caucuses, arguing that they are too difficult to attend and that Iowa, where Clinton finished third, has too much influence. Obama won 12 of 13 states which held caucuses.
"I got the email from (Iowa Obama campaign chair) Jackie Norris this morning saying this wasn't a problem for Iowa and we'd all be fine, but it's a real threat and it's really disappointing," said Nagle. "It's a real disaster for our state, frankly."
"It operates on the assumption that Barack will be the president," said Nagle, "and there's absolutely no guarantee of that whatsoever."
Nagle says he is certain that Iowa will lose its first in the nation role if Obama loses the election. "The only way you might get around that is if the mandate creating the commission restricts them from considering the status of Iowa and New Hampshire. It's all up to Obama," said Nagle. "I think if he could get Hillary's permission, then that could go in. But it's clear that Obama is perfectly willing to let her control this."
"The highest governing authority of the Democratic Party is the national convention," says Nagle. He wants to see the convention reaffirm Iowa's first in the nation role, which would bind the commission for at least the next four years. "If they don't mandate that, the commission is really free to do whatever it wants."
The Dingell commission will have 35 members and there is no guarantee that either Iowa or New Hampshire will be represented.
"We should be making the Obama campaign aware that if he breaks his pledge to Iowa or New Hampshire, it could have serious consequences to his ability to carry this state," said Nagle. "In Iowa, it's a threat. In New Hampshire, it's a reality."
Brad Anderson, an Iowa Obama spokesperson, disputes Nagle's view. "Senator Obama's commitment to Iowa and New Hampshire being first in the nomination process hasn't changed," Anderson told Iowa Independent.
Three days before the 2008 caucuses, Obama told the Politico that the calendar should "absolutely" stay the same, with Iowa first, in four years.