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How an internal Obama memo helps the staff

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

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Obama 08! California, catch up! :)

This is very interesting information!

Even as an Obama supporter, I'll admit he's not perfect. But he is such a tremendous opportunity for our country. He surrounds himself with terrific people. He is a great communicator who treats the populace with respect. We don't often get to vote with our minds and our hearts in the same place. I am sure California will get it, as the last comment suggests.

I was reading a 1969 college advising guide this morning -- my international postdocs always make a big deal about the "foundation" (the character of the college) one receives:


the perfect all-round upper- or upper-middle-class American wife -- attractive, cultured, efficient, intelligent, and almost overwhelmingly competent.

the Wellesley girl is confident that she can take almost anything normal in her stride. She may not do well on the abnormal, but then Wellesley and the Wellesley girl being what they are, she's unlikely to encounter much of that.

Wellesley is the sort of deadly, pleasant-looking, well-to-do suburb the Wellesley girl probably came from. ... If she was in a hurry to get away from that sort of life, she wouldn't have chosen Wellesley. (Lawrence Handel, College Confidential)

I thought how interesting Hillary really is that girl, even if we forgive her Barry Goldwater past and sixties activism, and ignore the harm Bill has done to her over the years.


a good school with a highly qualified faculty and a highly qualified student body ... it has consistently expanded its reputation over the years.

it's looking for a well-balanced student body.

although an independent institution, it does have ties with the United Presbyterian Church (Handel).

And since he was a transfer to COLUMBIA U:

Columbia was a pioneer. ... Most anything is possible and available at Columbia if you can find out about it in time. ... You always seem to hear about the course you could have taken, the lecture you could have listened to, or the commotion you could have witnessed a day too late. (Handel)

Aha, the fierce urgency.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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