For a small band of supercharged Democratic organizers, the pleasant Des Moines neighborhood of Beaverdale goes by another name: Obamadale.
The moniker was bestowed three years ago by a motley crew of Democrats who first met as strangers over martinis at a local restaurant in the early days of President Obama's re-election bid, brought together under the aegis of the "neighborhood team" model that defined the campaign's bottom-up volunteer structure.
Led by Kimberley Boggus, a bubbly 33-year-old nursing student, and Sam Reno, a 42-year-old no-nonsense construction crew supervisor, the platoon of volunteers eventually managed to turn out more than 700 Democrats to their local caucus precinct on a chilly January night in 2012 - and that was for an uncontested race overwhelmingly won by Obama. By November, in another show of force, "we turned out 87 percent of the Democratic voters in Beaverdale," Boggus recalled with evident pride.
After the campaign, Obama's behemoth political organization became Organizing For America (OFA), but the group has struggled to maintain a coherent identity outside the president's campaigns.
"It's been seven years, and a lot has changed," Hillary Clinton said Sunday in her first visit to Iowa since the state dealt her presidential campaign a devastating body blow.
But there was a moment in the afternoon when it seemed like not much had.
Roughly 200 credentialed media were gathered in a far corner of the Indianola Balloon Field, the grassy expanse where Sen. Tom Harkin was convening his 37th and final Steak Fry, an annual fundraiser that doubles as a point of entry for ambitious Democrats curious about the Iowa caucuses.
After a 90-minute wait, the press scrum - scribblers and photographers alike - were herded like cattle through a series of gates and escorted up to a hot smoking grill, waiting to capture the same image: a staged shot of Bill and Hillary Clinton, fresh out of their motorcade, ritualistically flipping steaks with Harkin.
The Clintons ignored the half-hearted shouted questions from reporters - "Mr. President, do you eat meat?" - with practiced ease. They were two football fields away from the nearest voter. Mechanical, distant, heavy-handed: The afternoon spectacle felt a lot like Hillary's 2008 caucus campaign, a succession of errors that crumbled under the weight of a feuding top-heavy staff and the candidate's inability to connect with her party's grassroots.
And then the head fake - and something different.
Read Peter Hamby's report from Indianola in full.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - As he builds support for a possible Democratic presidential bid, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is dispatching political staffers to work on two key races in South Carolina this fall, sources familiar with the moves told CNN.
The Washington Post reported Monday that O’Malley was sending “more than two dozen” staffers from his political action committee, O’Say Can You See PAC, into Iowa and New Hampshire to assist midterm candidates this year. Those states kick off the presidential nomination process, followed by South Carolina, the first southern primary.
ANDERSON, South Carolina (CNN) - Marco Rubio came to South Carolina this week hoping to win over the kind of conservative hardliners who turned on him last year as the Senate immigration reform bill he sponsored hit a roadblock in the Republican-controlled House.
By the time Rubio addressed a massive GOP fundraiser here on Monday evening, it wasn't his right flank he had to worry about.
(CNN) — The masked man appears briefly, for only a frame or two, but it’s startling nonetheless.
The not-yet-identified killer of kidnapped American photographer James Foley is featured in an ominous and risky campaign ad released Monday by New Mexico’s Republican nominee for Senate, Allen Weh, the underdog challenger to first-term Democratic Senator Tom Udall.
Washington (CNN) – One year ago, Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential contender and avatar of progressive sentiment, sat in a hotel lobby at the annual Netroots Nation conference in San Jose and held forth on Hillary Clinton's White House chances in 2016.
Dean made news.
Clinton "will not get a pass" in the 2016 Democratic primaries if she decides to run again, Dean said, an early warning shot from the left against the party establishment's anointed front-runner. Dean said he might make a repeat White House bid of his own, promising to agitate "other politicians" in the race on issues precious to liberals.
Washington (CNN) - Democratic candidates this cycle are working feverishly to exploit their party's edge among female voters, thrusting issues like equal pay, paid sick leave and women's health to the forefront of their campaigns.
Emily's List, the political action committee that backs female Democratic candidates, is stepping into the fray in North Carolina, home to the country's most expensive Senate race.
Washington (CNN) — Mitt Romney is Jersey bound.
The former Republican presidential nominee will team up with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a fundraiser benefiting the New Jersey Republican Party next month, sources familiar with the plans told CNN.
The event is billed as a birthday celebration for Christie, who turns 52 next month.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is known to glide through the hallways of Capitol Hill with headphones in his ears. It's a tactic he employs to avoid pesky reporters. But the Republican faced down a flurry of questions on Wednesday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with journalists.
The potential White House contender offered up his views on a range of topics, like climate change, immigration reform, and his newly-released plan to overhaul federal poverty programs.
Washington (CNN) — Rob Astorino, New York’s GOP candidate for governor, was urged not to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Aspen this week after publicly clashing with the group’s chairman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, over support for his underdog campaign, which Christie called “a lost cause.”
Astorino rebuffed the request — which was made by an unidentified RGA staffer who said the group wanted to “avoid conflict” at the meeting — and went ahead with an overnight trip to the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen to meet with donors and other governors, GOP sources familiar with incident told CNN.