Both political parties made a last push to round up and fire up voters this weekend. Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle stopped at a campaign calling center in Urbandale Saturday morning to thank GOP volunteers. “We have so many candidates that are counting on you and so much at stake in Iowa and we really appreciate all of your efforts,” Nussle told the two-dozen volunteers in the room.
The callers rang a bell every time someone on the other end of the phone pledged to vote for Nussle. So Karen Nussle decided to ring the bell to signal she was voting for her husband. “Oh, thank you. It’s about time,” Nussle said, as the crowd laughed and clapped. “When did you decide? Was it something I said?”
On Sunday night several thousand Democrats crowded into downtown Iowa City for a pep rally. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver told the crowd that as an “old coach,” he was “smart enough to know that it’s the players on the field that make the difference and each and every one of you are the most valuable players on our team.”
Culver introduced his wife, Mari, to the crowd and bragged about the campaign ad in which she stars. “Some of you have probably seen that ad where she calls me the big lug,” Culver said. “I’ve decided she can call me anything she wants.”
Illinois Senator Barak Obama was in Iowa City to rally Democrats, too. Obama predicted a “spirit of change” would “wash across the nation” on Tuesday. “I’ve been traveling all across the country and there is something happening out there,” Obama said. “There is a mood shift. There’s a sea change.”
Obama drew applause from the crowd for saying Americans are tired of “just talking tough and acting dumb” when it comes to Iraq. “People are paying attention in this election and here’s the good news: when the American people pay attention, good things happen. Yea, they get confused sometimes. They watch the wrong t.v. shows. They listen to the wrong radio talk show hosts,” Obama said, as some in the crowd booed and hissed or laughed. “But when they’re paying attention, good things happen.”
Republicans are bringing in former New York Mayor Rudy Guilliani today to headline campaign rallies here. Late Friday, President Bush headlined a rally in Le Mars for Nussle.
The polls open at seven o’clock Tuesday morning. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released in Sunday’s edition showed Culver holding a lead over Nussle.