Four years ago, pops and I went up to New Hampshire for a couple days of political tourism and caught a barroom speech from Dennis Kucinich and then snuck into the press section at a John Edwards event. We tried in vain to see McCain and Hillary. On the way back to New Jersey, we heard that Obama was up by 10 points in the polls. So Hillary cried… and won. And John McCain beat a Masschusetts flip-flopper who once described himself as “more liberal than Ted Kennedy.”
Mitt Romney has since changed. In fact, his tour bus in Dubuque was adorned with three inspiring words: “Conservative. Businessman. Leader.”
Although Romney was the GOP candidate I was least interested in seeing (I was hoping for Perry or Bachmann), his event was an interesting political specimen. The crowd at the paper warehouse was about 150 strong, made up of what seemed to be mostly middle-aged and older white collar types. There was only a handful of young people in the audience.
Romney gave a better speech than I ever expected him to give. He and wife Ann are definitely on their A-game. His joke about Ann “falling on da butt in Dubuque” four years ago was probably too wholesome for the average Madisonian, but it was delightfully risqué for the Iowa Republican base. His only target was President Obama; he made no mention of other GOP candidates. We’ll see tonight whether that was a good calculation on his part.
Later, I was interviewed by a Fox TV station from Rockford,IL while eating lunch with Mrs. Sconz at an Italian restaurant in Dubuque. Here’s the video that includes a few seconds of expert analysis from “Political Tourist Jack Craven [sic].”