Fred Thompson Making a Major Move in Iowa

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Dec 18, 2007 6:00 PM
“The liberals in Iowa look to The Des Moines Register for their endorsements -- and the conservatives look to Steve King.”

... That’s according to Sen. Fred Thompson’s Iowa Executive Director, Robert Haus, a self-proclaimed "fossil" of Iowa politics who has worked for candidates like Sen. Chuck Grassley, Bob Dole, and Steve Forbes.

Of course, Haus was referencing the endorsement Thompson recently picked up of popular conservative Iowa Congressman Steve King, and juxtaposing it with John McCain's endorsement by The Des Moines Register.

I talked to Haus while he was on the way to an event -- the fourth Thompson event of the day for him.  Haus was understandably upbeat, especially considering David Yepsen's column about Thompson today.

Haus tells me Thompson has been received quite well:

“I think, just based on the reception we’ve seen in the last 24 hours, it’s been nothing short of spectacular." 

“... It’s hoots and hollers and 'hell yeas' from the back of the room.  It’s almost Revivalesque.  It’s stuff we’re not used to in Iowa," says Haus.

He also tells me he's also surprised by the number of folks who are undecided, and the number of folks who are unhappy with the candidates they are currently supporting.

When asked to talk about organization, Haus is slightly less optimistic.  Regarding whether or not Thompson will have organizers in all 99 counties, Haus says they are working hard every day to build an organization:  “We’re going to build the ark until the rain starts," he quips.

He also notes that this year is unique, adding: “None of us have campaigned this hard over Christmas.”  This is true.  Most campaigns get a brief reprieval before the Cuacuses on say, January 17.  This year, of course, the caucus is on January 3.

One thing is clear:  Anyone watching Iowa had better not write Fred Thompson off just yet ...

Note: If you’re interested in Iowa politics, I recently also spoke with Romney’s Iowa Communications Director, Tim Albrecht