That slogan was written on a shirt of one of the precinct captains at my Coralville precinct. She was, as you might expect, young. Iowa was Baracked - no doubt about that.
We had 764 people show up in our Coralville precinct. Someone said four years ago it was around 400 people. I asked a number of people standing next to me if they had caucused before and all said No. It was a family event for us as all three girls joined Sharon and me. Sharon was told there would be childcare (and a movie!) for the kids, but that didn't materialize. When I called the Barack campaign, they told me it would only take 45 minutes to an hour, which I didn't believe and of course, that wasn't even close to being true. The girls spent the night on the floor trying not get stepped on. Rachel made a couple of forays to the Clinton table to snag some water. And she got cookies from Edwards supporters, I think.
The first tally was something like 180 for Clinton, 120 Edwards and 320 for Obama. (Numbers are not exactly right.) The cheers that erupted from the Obama group gave me chills in that stuffy 100-degree-packed-to-the-rafters-elementary-school gym. After the second count, Clinton was over 200, I think, Edwards was about the same and Obama was around 350. Obama got five delegates, Clinton got three and Edwards got two.
I was surprised at how... informal it seemed. They handed little red tickets like you'd get at a carnival. The precinct captain for each candidate gathered the red tickets from their supporters. Sometimes they just held out their cupped hands, some people used the plastic top from a salad bar container, and I think I saw someone using a hat to collect tickets, too. And then, as one guy pointed out, they were counted and the totals reported by the precinct captain for each candidate. I guess I would have thought there'd be neutral counters and a couple of people overseeing things to make sure it was all on the up and up. Not that I really doubt the results at all. I have complete trust in the people who were there - they're my neighbors after all. But I suprised at the informality of it all.
I watched Obama's speech on CNN last night and I was inspired. I wonder if this is how people felt about Kennedy? I hope he wins New Hampshire and clinches the nomination early.