Just about half the Iowa delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver are women and they’re invited to join a march today to celebrate an anniversary — the 88th anniversary of ratificaation of the 19th Amendment, the one that gave women the right to vote.
Ione Shadduck of West Des Moines is a retired lawyer, a first-time delegate to her party’s national convention and — at the age of 84 — she’s the oldest Iowa delegaste here in Denver.
She plans to vote for Hillary Clinton when the roll is called. "Just recognize what she has contributed, and recognize that the number of women who supported her are disappointed, because they wanted a woman president," Shadduck says.
Shadduck plans to vote for Obama in November, as she says her beef’s not with Obama, it’s with the media who she believes savaged Senator Clinton. "I really am not angry with him at all. I’m angry with the media because they were so biased against women and against Hillary specifically," she says. "Actually they were really nasty to her and I think what the media did against her made a big difference in the voting, I really do."
There is one member of the media, especially, who really gets her goat. "Chris Matthews — fire him!" she says of the MSNBC anchor.
At the other end of the age spectrum is Merci Wolff of Sioux City, the youngest delegate from Iowa. She’s 18. "I’m excited to be here to watch history being made," she says. "…I’ve been involved in politics since I was 10 years old, so this was kind of like a reward to be here and see things firsthand."
Wolff will attend Cornell College in Mount Vernon and plans to major in political science and women’s studies. Wolff, who may run for political office herself one day, feels a connection to Ione. "I think women that age are proud to see that women now are getting more and more involved," Wolff says. "I really think it shows a sign of the times."
Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach, a Republican who endorsed Obama earlier this month, spoke last night to the Democrats gathered in Denver. "This is not a time for politics as usual or for run-of-the-mill politicians," Leach said. "Little is riskier to the national interest than more of the same."
Leach, a professor at Princeton, spent some time discussing American political history to make his point that Obama is a "transformative leader" who meets the needs of the moment. "A leader who will emulate John F. Kennedy and relight a lamp of fairness at home and reassert an energizing mix of idealism abroad," Leach said.
Another Iowan — Candy Schmieder of Marengo — was given a speaking slot moments earlier. The Obama campaign says she was invited to speak on behalf of "everyday Americans."
"Living in Iowa we had the opportunity to attend many events and to meet Senator Obama, Michelle and their family," she said."We learned they are very down-to-earth people who truly understand our point of view."
Schmieder told her fellow Democrats that Obama had not inspired her, but motivated her to return to school, get her college degree, and enter public service. "He has the judgment, compassion, intelligence, perserverance and experience needed to be the next leader of our country," Schmieder said at the end of her three-minute speech.
Read the text of her speech, and of Congressman Leach’s, over on the Radio Iowa blog.