Conlin at Prairie Lights
She didn't have a book to sell but Roxanne Conlin spent her Friday evening at Iowa City's landmark bookstore, speaking to about 60 supporters ans sharing a couple Iowa City memories.
"I marched for peace on that street right there," she said, pointing down to Linn street a floor below and tying the war of 40 years ago to the war of now.
"We don't belong in Afghanistan with guns. Were creating problems, not solving them."
Conlin offered supporters a mix of policy proposals, critiques of incumbent Chuck Grassley, and horse race optimism. "We've moved the needle in public polls 15 points with person to person campaigning," she said, urging supporters to promote her candidacy through their social networks, both real world and virtual. "It's free for the campaign, and it's free for you to do that on my behalf."
Conlin shows up multiple times a day on Facebook, and while her Twitter is nowhere near as well known as Grassley's, she did admit to accidentally Tweeting a picture of a cat.
In a sign of just how seriously Conlin takes that campaign model, she spent last weekend at the Netroots Nation conference. "It was a real treat for me," Conlin told me after the speech. "I think they represent a wide swath of the nation, and of course they've got influence over an even wider swath."
Team Grassley has been attacking Conlin over tax issues, but Conlin firmly believes that the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire: "Come on. People who make over $250,000 a year can stand to have their taxes raised. This will affect me and people in my family.Yes, I'm calling for raising my own taxes. I don't think that's hypocritical, I think that's what we 60s idealists do."
As for Grassley, Conlin said "52 years in public life is an awfully long time," and said she can appeal to independent voters on fairness issues.
"Grassley is marching in lockstep with his party on everything that would put people back to work," Conlin said. "His answer is no, no, no. We should be suspicious of government in the hands of people who hate it."
(More coverage from the Gazette's James Lynch.)