Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer and his wife, Monica, had a scare as their plane to the Democratic National Convention in Boston landed. A flight attendant announced that the Fischers had an important message waiting for them at the gate. Monica says she thought it was bad news from home. Instead, it was a Logan Airport official, waiting to welcome the couple to Boston and escort them to the luggage bay. Other officials – with local law enforcement – were stationed outside the airport and the convention arena, armed with machine guns, a sign of post-9/11 America. Some of the most intense politicking for Iowa at the national conventions comes from candidates who are considering a bid for the White House sometime down the road. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will speak to Iowa delegates this morning; he was on Kerry’s list of potential running mates. And Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy’s son, will chat up Iowans today. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer says Patrick Kennedy has the right last name, and is a dynamic speaker. A notable no-show, though, is New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Fischer says Clinton had been invited to speak to all 50 state delegations, so rather than “cherry-pick” — that’s Fischer’s phrase – Clinton declined all invitations. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack got a choice seat last night, in Fenway to see the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees. Vilsack says if you’re in Boston, you have to walk the famed “Freedom Trail,” you have to eat a lobster and you have to see a game in Fenway Park to get what he terms the “total experience.” Vilsack was rooting for the home team, by the way. The outcome of the Democratic National Convention is already set: John Kerry’s going to get the party’s nomination. That makes the event a sort of long-form commercial for the candidate. There’s a high-tech effort to make sure all the delegates adhere to the campaign script. Each morning delegates will see a video-teleconference touting the day’s talking points. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer isn’t sure how it’ll all work, but he says it’s part of the over-all convention plan. Republicans have organized a counter offensive, based in Boston, to try to get their spin in convention coverage. Party chairman Fischer says Iowa Democrats are sitting in the front row in the convention hall not just because of the Iowa Caucuses and Kerry’s first-place finish in that leadoff contest, but because of Iowa’s importance in the November election. Fischer says Iowa may be a small state, but it’s an important state in the general election contest to win enough electoral college votes to capture the presidency. Fischer, who is a Des Moines attorney, has never been to a national party convention before. For the past couple of days, other Iowa Democrats have been asking Fischer questions about convention details. Fischer says he usually tells folks “I don’t know.” Don’t look for Fischer to make the announcement of how Iowa delegates will cast their votes on Thursday night to nominate Kerry. First Lady Christie Vilsack is the delegation’s chair and will be standing in that brief, national spotlight. She’s also scheduled to give a prime time speech at the convention on Tuesday night.
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