Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had no harsh words for any of her Democratic competitors tonight as she campaigned in Des Moines — with her mother in the audience.
Hours before rival Barack Obama brings in Oprah Winfrey to headline two Saturday afternoon campaign rallies in Iowa, Clinton brought her 88-year-old mother on stage, briefly, before a crowd in Des Moines.
"Tonight we’re going to talk about how easy it is to Caucus and how if everybody here is a buddy to one or two people you’ll be able to bring more of my supporters to the Caucuses and so I wanted to bring a buddy with me," Clinton said. "And so I brought my mother, Dorothy Rodham."
Clinton’s mother stood silently on stage with her daughter while the senator told the crowd it had been 53 years since her mother had set foot in Iowa. "My late father was a small businessman and he had customers throughout the Midwest…and sometimes we’d go with him," Clinton said. "..One day he said, ‘Well, do you want to go to Iowa?’ and we said, ‘Yes’ and we stayed at a place called the Tall Corn Motel."
Clinton never identified which Iowa town her family had visited but she continued with the story, telling the crowd she and her brother loved the motel because it had a swimming pool. "We thought we had died and gone to heaven. We thought it was the greatest experience ever," Clinton said. "And so my mother and I were talking about this and she said, ‘Well, do you think I could go back with you?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’ so I want to thank you for being here, mom. Thanks for coming back to Iowa with me."
So, after just over three minutes on stage, Mrs. Rodham was escorted off the stage to sit in the crowd and listen to her daughter speak another 20 minutes. Last week Clinton leveled criticism at rival Barack Obama on a number fronts, but tonight Clinton stuck to a different script, one that focused on getting "more and more people" to the Caucuses on January 3rd.
Clinton suggested there are "thousands" of women her mother’s age who are looking for a "buddy" to help them get the Caucuses. "We have thousands of women in their 80s and 90s who live alone, who want to come and Caucus on the night of January the 3rd and it’s very inspiring to me to hear them say that they want to be there," Clinton said. "You know, people who have lived nearly a century know how important this election is."
Yet Clinton also seemed to confirm what her campaign aides said last month — that a majority of her supporters in Iowa have never Caucused before. "Here’s what we know from talking to thousands and thousands of Iowans is that everybody who considers coming out and Caucusing — if they actually do, we’re going to do very well because there is a huge number of people who want to be part of this," Clinton said.
In addition, Clinton used the word "again" at least twice to suggest she would return to the policies her husband employed when he was president to, for example, "reform the government so it works again."
Clinton plans to campaign Saturday in Winterset, Williamsburg and Washington.