Much Delayed Followup: Culver, Judge, and Celebrating
It's about eight hours or so now that I've been off the news cycle grid, most of that spent celebrating the day with the locals and getting off the record stories that only make sense if you know the people involved. Meanwhile, they're asking me "what was the speech like? I didn't see it, I was doing" (some important behind the scenes thing)
I heard reports of crowds "Homecoming parade deep" downtown watching the motorcade drive by, and also crowds (spontaneous as in not planned by the organizers) several people deep on 1st Avenue in Coralville holding handmade signs along the lines of "Thank you Mr. President," just to see the cars go by, a scene that drove some of the most seasoned political veterans to emotional tears. "We take it for granted how much access we have," said one politico to a table full of others.
I did hear about the health fix-its getting passed and about the Prairie Lights stop (that was in the speech for a reason, it seems) There's no such thing as an "unplanned" stop: I remember the drill from a long-ago Dan Quayle visit and a Perkins stop with Jim Nussle. The Secret Service language has not changed a syllable from 1991 to today: "There's going to be a deviation from the schedule." Meaning: this is scheduled and we're just now telling you. "That helicopter was hovering over Prairie Lights steadier than I can hold my hand" (OK, that was after a couple drinks).
Said drinks were at The Mill, another great Iowa City institution. I promised to tell you about the governor and so I will: his tone was rally the troops. "He wouldn't have gotten it (health care) done without the people in this room," said Culver. "I am proud the President started it here and brought it back home today."
As for the Republicans, "the other side of the aisle wants to take this right away. We believe Yes We Can; they say no we can't. We need to fight to keep it in place," said Culver, moving to full campaign mode. Johnson County will be key to that; I've been talking all day about Obama reaching 70% here, but Culver polled 68% in 2006.
The governor worked the room as Lt Guv Patty Judge spoke. "It should be a basic human right to get your body taken care of," said Judge, reaching back to her own time as a nurse. "I am so proud today to be a Democrat and know that my children and neighbors and friends" (I didn't get every exact kind of relative) "Can go to the doctor when they need to and no one can stop them because they can't pay."
"Celebrate today, but be ready to work tomorrow. We've got Democrats to elect up and down the ticket," said Judge.
Culver, Judge and crew were out the door by 3:30, back to Des Moines to deal with the last days of the legislative session. The Organizing For America crew continued the program but a handful of state politcos were still on hand: Tom Miller, Mike Fitzgerald and Senate candidate Bob Krause.