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Shop Talk

So why is something as seemingly boring as a series of causcuses held in a small state really so damn exciting? The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz explains:

The Dean field operatives have purchased mountains of bottled water and granola bars, and cell phones and flashlights by the dozen. They have established 13 “fire bases” around the perimeter of the state to process incoming volunteers, rented eight-passenger vans and 15-passenger vans and secured winterized scout camps and YMCA camps in strategic locations to house the volunteers against Iowa’s sometimes brutally cold nights.

Connolly set up “flyaway teams” that can be deployed to fix problems around the state, and military acronyms abound, such as PBIB, for “Phone Bank in a Box,” which allows the campaign to set up a temporary phone bank in a county rather than lay costly phone lines. “I organized the state much like you’d send out Special Forces A teams,” Connolly said.

Then there’s the Gephardt campaign:

Gephardt’s campaign is almost wholly dependent on the rest of the labor movement — 21 international unions joined under the umbrella of the Alliance for Economic Justice, which has set up headquarters at a hotel on the north side of town. Gephardt also has the support of the Iowa chapter of the United Autoworkers, a proven force in Iowa politics.

The international unions have handpicked some of their best organizers and deployed them to Iowa. By next weekend, they hope to have 800 or more organizers on the ground.

“They’re picked because they’re the top political organizers from their union in their particular city,” said Chuck Rocha, Gephardt’s labor coordinator and political director of the United Steelworkers of America. “They brought the best of the best to Iowa.”

Finally, there’s Kerry, who could pull a second-place upset:

Every campaign is looking for new caucus attendees. Kerry, a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, has targeted veterans around the state and sent videos to 26,000 of them, courting them more directly than anyone has ever done.

And we still have a week to go. This is gonna be a fun one.