One of Barack Obama’s key Iowa advisors contends the landscape of Iowa politics was altered last night. John Norris, campaign manager of John Kerry’s 2004 Iowa effort and an advisor to Obama’s 2008 campaign, points to the record turnout of 240,000 at Democratic caucuses around the state.
“For the Democratic Party, I don’t know how many tens of thousands of new registrants they picked up last night, but that will have a lasting impact on the political dynamic in Iowa,” Norris says. Norris, as you might suspect, believes Obama can replicate that in other states as the presidential campaign moves across the country.
“His attitude about bringing people together — as he says addition and not division — is a much more constructive politics for this country,” Norris says. “…The Democratic Party perhaps owns that message more now because of Barack Obama’s leadership.” If there was a turning point in the campaign, Norris says it might have been Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement tour — not because her advice swayed Iowans.
Norris says it’s because Winfrey’s presence on the campaign trail swayed more media coverage Obama’s way. “There were so many candidates and so much going on in the state, really I think her ultimate value was to help us cut through the clutter of news and dominate some attention for Barack Obama,” Norris says. “…That pre-appearance and appearance and post-appearance of her just helped more people hear Barack’s message.”
Norris is back at his day job today. He is a lawyer, and chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board which regulates electric, gas and telephone utilities.