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Clinton Urges Iowa Voters To 'Fight' For Her


In 2008, when Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama here in the caucuses, there was a sense that Obama was better organized and his supporters had more passion. Well, this year, it is Clinton who is seen as better organized, but she is again facing an opponent with a lot of passion surrounding him. Yesterday, Democrat Hillary Clinton held a big rally here in Des Moines, and NPR's Tamara Keith was there.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton's campaign began in April with a video announcement and a road trip - destination, Iowa, the state where, in 2008, she came in third. This time, she was going to do it differently though, beginning with her very first campaign stop - a well-documented, quiet conversation with a handful of Iowans in a coffee shop.

HILLARY CLINTON: I like caramel, but I also really love chai.

KEITH: Ten months later, with a crowd of 2,600 packed into a high school gymnasium in Des Moines, Clinton thanked the people of Iowa for all those conversations.

CLINTON: The incredible stories you've told me, your hopes, your worries - I am a better candidate, and thanks to you, I will be a better president and I want you to know that.

KEITH: Those close to Clinton says it feels different this time around. There's more energy. If Clinton does win, she can thank a campaign organization that built on the formula that helped President Obama win eight years ago - the thousands of people who made phone calls and knocked on doors.

JASON COHEN: You guys, the clipboard's over here so...

KEITH: Yesterday in Des Moines, volunteers arrived in a steady stream to pick up lists of voters and fliers with caucus locations. Jason Cohen was coordinator.

COHEN: We've hit all of our doors in this area once, and now we're doing it for a second time 'cause we've already gotten through them all 'cause we've had so many volunteers.

KEITH: According to the campaign, volunteers spread out all over the state, knocked on 125,000 doors over the weekend, and last night, Clinton made one final pitch.

CLINTON: I hope you will go caucus for me tomorrow night. I hope you will go. I hope you will stand up for me. I hope you will fight for me, and I promise you this - I will stand up and fight for you every single day of this campaign and then when we win, I will fight for you in the White House. Thank you and God bless you.

KEITH: Clinton's volunteers will be back out knocking on doors today for one last get-out-to-caucus push. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Des Moines. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.