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Amy Klobuchar rolls through Iowa looking for her breakout moment

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is hoping to capitalize on the momentum from the December debate as she spends time campaigning in Iowa. CNN's Kyung Lah joins her on the trail.

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 1:10 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2019 1:10 PM

Less than 24 hours after a strong showing at the Democratic debate in California, Sen. Amy Klobuchar was already rolling through Iowa on her bright green bus.

Klobuchar has embarked on a 27-county, four-day swing through the first-in-the-nation caucus state, where she is hoping her debate performance and her moderate message will earn her a second look and much-needed momentum with a little more than 40 days until the caucuses. Already since the debate, Klobuchar's campaign said it raised more than $1 million.

And this bus tour could be one of the last times Klobuchar is able to spend significant time in the Hawkeye State, with a looming Senate trial on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office threatening to keep her and other Democratic senators running for president in Washington for a large period of time in January.

"I don't think [Iowa caucus-goers are] going to hold it against you if my husband is standing here that last week and I'm here on Skype on some screen. I mean that's what we're going to have to do, because this is too important," Klobuchar said of juggling campaigning with her duties as a senator.

This trip will cement Klobuchar's visit to 96 of the 99 counties in Iowa. On Friday, she plans to close out all the counties, with her campaign already boasting she'll be the only candidate to do so.

As she did in the debate, she is positioning herself as "the right package" of age and experience, threading the needle between two higher-polling moderate candidate in Iowa -- former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and contrasting herself with the progressive candidates in the race, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

"I like to joke that 59 is the new 37 to Mayor Pete," Klobuchar said to CNN in an interview aboard her bus emblazoned with the word "Amy." "I'm someone that's in between the ages of my friends, the vice president and Pete Buttigieg. I am a new generation of leader."

Klobuchar bristles at the larger structural reforms like Medicare for All, favoring a public option within the Affordable Care Act. She says it's possible to be "progressive and practical," rejecting ideas like free college. Rebuilding "the Blue Wall" for Democrats, says Klobuchar, is by building bridges, "not blowing them up."

But she is also keeping her focus on Trump. At one stop in Iowa, two men, one dressed in MAGA gear, shouted multiple times while Klobuchar was speaking, in one case asking, "how are you going to pay for it?" when she was going through her proposals.

Klobuchar ignored him at first, but called him the "peanut gallery" before thumping Trump on his economic platform while in office.

"A question was raised there from the peanut gallery about how we pay for things. I have actually outlined how am I going to pay for every single thing that I have proposed, and that is by reversing a number of the regressive things that Donald Trump has done," she said.

"He's literally running our country like one of his bankrupt casinos, that tax bill added over a trillion dollars in debt," she added.

She also emphasizes her Minnesota roots, arguing that she can win back the Midwest beginning with the state that neighbors her own.

"The Midwest is not flyover country to me. I live here," Klobuchar has said again and again to receptive Iowans.

Klobuchar remains at a distant fifth place at 6% in the latest CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll, behind Buttigieg, Warren, Biden and Sanders. But the Klobuchar campaign is eyeing other numbers in the Iowa poll—that 27% are actively considering her and another 6% of respondents say she's their second choice.

"She's way at the top for me. I've almost decided," agonized Cindy Gomis at the Creston gathering. The other candidate she's considering? Pete Buttigieg, she said. "I really liked him, until I heard her."

But Delores Bristol wasn't as convinced after seeing the former prosecutor at a house party in Council Bluffs. She was still leaning towards Biden, comforted by his more than 40 years of public service.

"Honestly, I could go into the caucuses undecided," said Bristol. "I have no problems doing that."

Susie Boyde, after seeing Klobuchar speak in person, moved out of the undecided column.

"She just knows what she's saying, she's not afraid to show it," said Boyde, who was previously considering Buttigieg. "She says it in a calm manner. And she's polite about things."

"In Iowa, the ultimate compliment is, 'You're in my top three!'" Klobuchar emphatically stated during her weekend swing, urging Democrats to pick her. "Go for it! Just go for it!"

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 124439

Reported Deaths: 2292
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32336965
Ramsey13342347
Dakota9251133
Anoka8093148
Stearns537035
Washington525967
Scott318534
Olmsted307029
St. Louis264763
Wright227614
Nobles214016
Clay203243
Blue Earth19707
Carver16957
Rice15789
Sherburne156221
Kandiyohi15494
Mower148912
Winona118918
Lyon9256
Waseca9129
Crow Wing87921
Chisago8552
Benton8415
Beltrami7687
Otter Tail7436
Todd7232
Steele7212
Itasca67617
Nicollet67317
Freeborn6324
Morrison6076
Douglas6043
Martin58616
Le Sueur5855
McLeod5703
Watonwan5674
Goodhue51111
Pine5090
Polk4924
Becker4893
Isanti4873
Chippewa3793
Carlton3781
Dodge3620
Mille Lacs3528
Pipestone32616
Wabasha3230
Cass3115
Hubbard3092
Meeker3073
Brown2983
Rock2971
Unassigned26553
Yellow Medicine2655
Cottonwood2620
Redwood25011
Murray2483
Fillmore2380
Sibley2383
Renville22911
Faribault2090
Jackson1951
Roseau1930
Swift1921
Wadena1880
Kanabec18610
Houston1811
Stevens1681
Lincoln1650
Pennington1631
Koochiching1624
Aitkin1542
Pope1480
Big Stone1270
Wilkin1244
Lac qui Parle1232
Lake1030
Mahnomen941
Norman940
Grant894
Marshall871
Clearwater760
Red Lake602
Traverse530
Lake of the Woods421
Kittson270
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 107481

Reported Deaths: 1537
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk17984282
Woodbury682088
Johnson563830
Black Hawk519196
Linn5047126
Dubuque467952
Scott404134
Story385317
Dallas329143
Pottawattamie295644
Sioux229712
Buena Vista220012
Marshall192636
Webster170014
Plymouth153925
Wapello147162
Clinton135525
Muscatine133958
Crawford130912
Cerro Gordo124923
Des Moines12139
Warren11496
Carroll10288
Jasper102034
Henry9785
Marion92410
Tama90037
Lee8719
Wright6871
Dickinson6847
Delaware6798
Boone6778
Mahaska61422
Bremer6128
Washington61011
Harrison5768
Jackson5283
Lyon5147
Benton5031
Louisa49115
Clay4844
Hamilton4433
Winnebago43716
Winneshiek4339
Hardin4285
Poweshiek42811
Kossuth4220
Floyd41511
Jones4113
Emmet39914
Buchanan3933
Cedar3855
Iowa3776
Franklin37318
Guthrie36914
Cherokee3652
Sac3643
Clayton3503
Page3470
Butler3442
Shelby3441
Madison3432
Fayette3412
Mills3361
Allamakee3278
Chickasaw3221
Clarke3123
Cass3052
Humboldt2913
Palo Alto2861
Hancock2814
Grundy2804
Calhoun2644
Osceola2480
Howard2479
Monroe23811
Mitchell2300
Monona2281
Taylor2202
Pocahontas2092
Union2094
Appanoose2013
Jefferson1901
Lucas1866
Fremont1781
Ida1772
Greene1730
Van Buren1572
Davis1554
Montgomery1555
Keokuk1401
Adair1331
Audubon1291
Decatur1290
Worth1270
Wayne1123
Ringgold822
Adams670
Unassigned190
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