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How an internal Obama memo helps the staff

January 2, 2008 |  7:24 am

One of the invisible challenges of running a national campaign is keeping up the spirits of the staff, many of them unpaid or hardly-paid, during the inevitable ups and downs when the only real measure of their long daily labors can't come until the votes at the end.

The Times' eagle-eyed Robin Abcarian, in her wanderings around the well-traveled state of Iowa in recent days, obtained a copy of an Obama campaign memo from state director Paul Tewes to precinct captains. He gave them a website address where the team members could hear a taped message of appreciation from the candidate himself.

Then, as at least anecdotal evidence of their efforts' success, Tewes provided a long list of Iowa towns where the competing Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton campaigns had crossed, with audience counts for each. Now, remember this means some Obama supporter had to attend each event to count and the other campaigns were likely doing the same.

In his TV interviews, Obama also cites the crowds as evidence of his momentum to back up encouraging numbers from a new Des Moines Register poll.

Here are some sample crowd comparisons from the memo:

Mason City, IA 12/26: Senator Obama -- 650
                       12/28: Senator Clinton -- 400
                       12/15: Senator Edwards -- 300

Clinton, IA 12/28: Senator Obama -- 365
                 12/28: Senator Edwards -- 100
                 12/29: Senator Clinton -- 200

Carroll, IA 12/26: Senator Obama -- 600
                12/27: Senator Clinton -- 400

Webster City, IA 12/26: Senator Obama -- 330
                          12/28: Senator Clinton -- 200

Davenport, IA (simultaneous events) 12/28: Senator Obama - 950
                                                       12/28: Senator Edwards - 225

Of course, none of this matters if many of these folks don't actually go to caucus meetings Thursday evening. But that'll take more than a memo.

--Andrew Malcolm