Transcript of DEMOCRACY IN ACTION Interview with Jackie
Norris, Iowa State Director of Obama for America At the Democratic
National Convention in Denver, CO, late Aug. 2008
QUESTION: Where are you in the
campaign in Iowa?
We know what worked during the Iowa caucuses, and what worked is having
a strong precinct by precinct organization and to that degree that's
what we're replicating for the general election, because we recognize
that it's not going to be the ads, it's not going to be anything but
peer-to-peer, neighbor-to-neighbor contact. So what we're
replicating is a 1,700-plus precinct organization. I feel really
good about where we are. We've got very strong infrastructure
that we can rely on. Part of this now is really just rebuilding,
reenergizing, reorganizing the existing infrastructure.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the
period between the caucuses and June, and when you started ramping up
again. Were you doing things even during that period?
One of the greatest strengthening experiences, I think, for the
campaign was to have that period of time from February to June -- the
county convention, the district convention, the state convention --
because it forced the campaign to stay connected with its
delegates. At that point, a lot of the presidential dynamics had
changed. John Edwards had made the decision to drop out, other
candidates had dropped out, so that gave us time to reach out to
all of those other delegates, court them, include them, invite
them, and I think that was a really good opportunity for us to really
unite the party. And then coming into June we had time to really
reach out to the Clinton supporters. So I feel really good about
the fact that every Democrat has been asked to be part of the Obama
campaign as we head into the Fall, which is really important. You
want a unified party.
QUESTION: So in that period from
February to June did you have staff on the ground here?
We did. It was a small staff. We really relied on our
volunteer infrastructure across the state, where we asked our county
captians to call all of the delegates and remind them about the
conventions, tell them why it was important to go. So we really
used our volunteer infrastructure. We had staff to manage it, but
we were relying a lot on the volunteers.
QUESTION: Did you have three or four
Yeah, if that. so I think it was two to three. And then we
always had people come in a couple of days before, just to help us with
the mechanics of the conventions.
QUESTION: And so when did you really
start ramping up or had you kept an office throughout?
We've actually kept an office throughout
QUESTION: The main one in Des Moines
No, we moved into a smaller space. but one of the greatest things
that happened after January, after our caucuses, people weren't
done. They knew in Iowa that they had selected Barack Obama in
Iowa but it wasn't done. So we kept infrastructure open for
them. In Iowa City, in Des Moines and in Cedar Falls so they
could come into the office and make phone calls into other
states. So a lot of this really hasn't stopped. but I would
say our general election campaign in earnest really began in June of
this year, of this summer, where we really recognized okay, where do we
want to set up offices, where do we want to put up infrastructure, and
now we're now at the point where we have over 30 offices and staff
across the state because we fundamentally believe that the way you're
going to capitalize on this organization is if you bring the campaign a
little bit closer to them.
QUESTION: Was there an issue with the
coordinated campaign and the IDP?
Iowa should be congratulated because as soon as all the presidential
candidates left in January, they turned and started focusing on how you
actually elect a president in Iowa in November. So the
traditional model that they were operating under was that it would be a
coordinated camapign which traditionally you have a pot of money,
everybody--the presidential campaign, everybody chips in--you have the