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.

Cases: 447349

Reported Deaths: 6007
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin929301478
Ramsey39917738
Dakota32945340
Anoka30935364
Washington20116227
Stearns17847187
St. Louis13658241
Scott1193296
Wright11598104
Olmsted1045075
Sherburne820665
Carver693436
Clay651680
Rice605268
Kandiyohi553671
Blue Earth539933
Crow Wing482574
Otter Tail456367
Chisago452032
Benton419586
Winona388046
Douglas373966
Nobles369646
Mower364729
Goodhue346858
Polk328256
McLeod324745
Morrison311544
Beltrami309947
Lyon301136
Becker284639
Itasca284543
Isanti282441
Carlton279443
Steele27279
Pine266613
Freeborn244621
Todd231730
Nicollet224036
Brown214734
Mille Lacs214046
Le Sueur209415
Cass207623
Meeker199433
Waseca188916
Wabasha17023
Martin169926
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139627
Renville137239
Houston135613
Dodge13434
Chippewa131032
Cottonwood127018
Fillmore12315
Wadena119916
Rock110112
Sibley10847
Aitkin108033
Watonwan10638
Faribault105716
Pennington99215
Kanabec97418
Pipestone94023
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85310
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70315
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63615
Wilkin6249
Koochiching59510
Lincoln4831
Big Stone4563
Unassigned44168
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1931
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304391

Reported Deaths: 4270
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45574448
Linn17742274
Scott15414163
Black Hawk13696236
Woodbury12968175
Johnson1207549
Dubuque11348150
Pottawattamie8959112
Dallas885171
Story865434
Webster468271
Cerro Gordo464768
Sioux454456
Clinton449461
Warren440738
Marshall426561
Buena Vista392329
Muscatine388477
Des Moines381041
Plymouth349768
Wapello342398
Jasper321258
Lee315830
Marion303852
Jones270649
Henry263830
Carroll253934
Bremer242648
Crawford229422
Boone217017
Washington216831
Benton209244
Mahaska191836
Jackson191431
Tama186657
Dickinson185026
Delaware173036
Kossuth172143
Clay167319
Wright163624
Fayette161122
Buchanan159123
Hamilton158729
Winneshiek155219
Harrison154862
Hardin154429
Cedar152519
Clayton151348
Butler147324
Page144215
Floyd138836
Cherokee138427
Mills136216
Lyon134832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129824
Allamakee127627
Iowa124322
Calhoun12209
Grundy120526
Jefferson120124
Madison11999
Winnebago118729
Mitchell116134
Louisa114730
Cass112841
Chickasaw110912
Sac110915
Emmet110431
Appanoose110138
Union108222
Humboldt105319
Guthrie102924
Shelby102126
Franklin101718
Unassigned9230
Palo Alto9049
Keokuk84926
Montgomery84822
Howard83119
Monroe80918
Clarke7927
Pocahontas77611
Ida74130
Davis69121
Greene6917
Adair68720
Lucas6488
Monona64016
Osceola6389
Worth6063
Taylor5919
Fremont5086
Van Buren49612
Decatur4824
Ringgold4289
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2953
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