Hillary Clinton’s final message to Iowans in the last days before the Iowa Caucus is a simple one: thank you.
“I want you to know how much it has meant to me as I’ve traveled across the state to hear about people’s hopes and struggles,” Clinton says in her final television ad, released today.
It appears to be a fitting coda to the different tune Clinton has sung throughout Iowa over the past nine months. Determined to not make the same mistakes her third-place 2008 Iowa campaign did, Clinton and her campaign worked hard to present a more relatable, approachable candidate that connected with Iowans on their top issues and personal lives.
An all-in caucus operation aimed at building real relationships with Iowans has been lauded by many, and the persistent questions last spring over whether Clinton would take Iowa seriously this time seem like distant memories. But changes in Clinton’s personal approach at her events around Iowa have reflected a different, improved candidacy as well. Clinton herself seems to be having fun on trail, enjoying the interactions in question-and-answer sessions with caucus-goers and the stories she hears from Iowans.
The early strategy of getting her closer to real Iowans by holding round tables on specific policies and by hosting house parties with only 50 to 100 attendees seemed to have paid off in some ways in the long run. She comes armed to Iowa events with multiple personal stories from Iowans she’s met, and works them into her larger policies and visions.
This Wednesday she appeared at a bowling alley in Adel run by a young man she met on her very first trip to Iowa at a small business round table. Bryce Smith, the owner, explained to Clinton back in April how he had difficulty obtaining loans for his business because of his student loan debt. It was a story Clinton shared at countless events around Iowa (and beyond) for months afterward. And it’s one of many that she seems to think has improved her both as a candidate and potential president.
“I know that because of that I will be a better president if I’m elected,” Clinton acknowledges in the ad.
The ad finishes with a call from Clinton to attend the caucus on Monday night. After nine long months of intensive efforts in Iowa, they’ll see in a few days whether the different approach this time pays off.
by Pat Rynard