Former p.c. (that would be presidential candidate) Howard Dean spoke to the Iowa Democrats in Boston this morning, and he started by leaning into the mic and saying “Yahoo,” then laughing and showing those teeth. It was not the YaHOO-OO of the commercials, nor was it Cowboy Pete-ish. It had a bit of an eastern twang to it, if easterners can twang. In volume, it did not rival his January 19 screech. Afterwards, I asked him if the “Yahoo” was an attempt at humor, and he said he “couldn’t resist.”

Dean was curt when asked to comment on the demise of his campaign, and he flat out refused to say whether he’d run again “I’m not going to go there” he told reporters. But he did go see the Iowans. Dean’s Iowa campaign manager Jeannie Murray scanned the room before Dean came in, jotting down the names of luminaries on a file card. Dean then sprinkled references to those folks during his remarks.

Right after Dean Cam Kerry talked, but I was out of the room chatting with Dean, so I have no idea what he said. Before Dean spoke, Ann Richards had been behind the microphone addressing the Iowa Dems. She was introduced by Lynn Cutler, a former Iowan, and it was a sign that she hasn’t lived in Iowa for quite a few years that one woman in the delegation asked me who Lynn Cutler was.

Elizabeth Edwards was the first speaker of the day to woo Iowans. She revealed the deal she made with the two little kids last night. Evidently Emma Claire and Jack like to “butt heads” a lot, so she promised them back stage that if they didn’t head-butt on stage and behaved themselves on stage after daddy’s speech when they all went out for the money shot, the kids could sleep with mommy and daddy last night. The deal worked, and Mrs. Edwards says she and hubby slept in separate beds. She drew Jack “who is a whirling dervish” in her bed; Senator Edwards slept with Emma Claire.

I was sort of surprised by the national media’s reaction to the Edwards speech. I’ve heard most of that speech before, lots of times, and he really didn’t seem to have “it” last night like he did back in Iowa during the closing days of the Caucus Campaign.

For those of you who’ve heard my Ann Richard impression, by the way, I now have a new joke in the arsenal. It’s about George Washington. Regretably, the phrase “fanny right on in” is not part of it. Richards uttered two really good words during her speech to Iowans: diatribe (think of the Texas drawl, and imagine how it sounded) and shy. A drawl goes a long way, if you know what I mean.

And Wesley Clark finally showed me his intellect tonight. He used the word pantheon in his speech.

One of the Iowa delegates told me last night she’d be playing her accordian in downtown Iowa City to entice potential voters to fill out the registration forms. When I asked if that worked, she said “Yeah, but some run away.”

Another 25-year-old delgate plans a Halloween party with a GOTV theme (that’s Get Out The Vote). She plans to dress as “Lady Liberty.” While the toga-like outfit is an easy costume to throw together, sources say it kills your arm to hold up that lamp all night, so she might want to dress like Uncle Sam or perhaps Aunt Samatha.

Oh, and for those of you who think this is a fashion column, Mrs. Vilsack was wearing a Heinz-ketchup red suit this morning.

For those of you looking for hard news, it seems Governor Vilsack told the Latino Caucus earlier this week that he needs a democratic legislature so he and they can repeal the English Only law in Iowa. Wonder if he told the Caucus he was the Governor who signed it into law. I’m hoping to chat with the Governor tomorrow to find out what’s up with that.

I am now signing off to listen to the Kerry speech. I’ll file one more blog tomorrow.