I have to admit I was surprised.
Barack Obama won the Iowa caucus.
The race was exceptionally close, and the Big Three finished close together. The New York Times reports:
On the Democratic side, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Obama had 37.6 percent of the delegate support, Mr. Edwards 29.8 percent and Mrs. Clinton had 29.5 percent. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico was fourth, at 2.11 percent.
Obama did not end up with a double-digit lead, but even this margin is impressive.
After I heard about Barack’s victory, I checked my e-mail, and there was a note from his campaign. Short, sweet:
Subject: Turn on your television
We just won Iowa, and I’m about to head down to talk to everyone.
Democrats turned out in record numbers tonight, and independents and even some Republicans joined our party to stand together for change.
Thank you for everything you’ve done to make this possible.
I’m including the “Donate” button as a courtesy to the senator. I am impressed.
I remember arriving at a rally in Matteson, IL, just a couple of years ago, when Barack was running for the U.S. Senate. The rally was not for Barack. It was a “Green Day”, organized by the Village of Matteson, IL, State. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., and others. The idea was to persuade area businesses to do business again in the South Suburbs of Chicago.
Barack was sitting in his car in the parking lot by himself, waiting for something, or someone. He looked a bit nervous, alone. Or maybe he was just bored. No one was around his car. I did not go up to talk to him. Nor sure why. I was heading for the rally, and he looked like he wanted to be alone.
I think about that now, how accessible he was then, and how things have changed.
When the race for Senate in Illinois began, I was inspired by Barack. He is very inspiring. I participated in a 4th of July parade with his campaign in Monee, IL, that year. I was also supporting State Senator Debbie Halvorson, who is now running for Congress.
Barack was very fit. While I was sweating trying to keep up with the parade, Barack did not break a sweat in the heat and humidity running from side to side of the street, greeting people, saying hello.
Barack won Iowa. That’s impressive. That’s not the White House. But he won a very, very white state. That’s encouraging. It’s also very encouraging that so many young people came out to caucus.
I don’t fall for the inspirational speeches as easily now. But when I clicked on the “Donate” button in my email, I heard a selection from Barack’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
He was very good.
I really, really hope this guy is for real. I am not at all sure he has the experience to lead a nation — but I’m willing to take a chance on him.
Looking forward to seeing where this story ends.