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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 1:15 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: 554536

Reported Deaths: 7083
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1155051679
Ramsey47786853
Dakota42410422
Anoka38477415
Washington24913273
Stearns20994218
St. Louis16774297
Scott15946117
Wright14764127
Olmsted1273297
Sherburne1060080
Carver980145
Clay781289
Rice7632101
Blue Earth695840
Kandiyohi627380
Crow Wing615086
Chisago548250
Otter Tail542673
Benton530597
Mower450532
Goodhue442471
Douglas441870
Winona438149
Nobles400248
Morrison394659
McLeod394355
Isanti375159
Beltrami372257
Itasca370752
Polk365367
Steele361914
Becker353948
Lyon347848
Carlton329352
Freeborn326829
Pine311821
Nicollet306542
Brown294439
Mille Lacs281250
Le Sueur269722
Todd268730
Cass249626
Meeker235937
Waseca231221
Martin212529
Wabasha19953
Roseau197318
Renville172043
Hubbard171841
Dodge17123
Redwood166435
Houston162614
Cottonwood156821
Fillmore15169
Pennington150619
Chippewa145836
Wadena144021
Faribault143419
Sibley135710
Kanabec130621
Aitkin128636
Watonwan12549
Rock122719
Jackson117310
Yellow Medicine110419
Pipestone109725
Murray10229
Pope10226
Swift99518
Marshall85617
Stevens82010
Lake78419
Clearwater77414
Koochiching76913
Wilkin76812
Lac qui Parle73522
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5478
Norman5229
Mahnomen5048
Unassigned49578
Kittson46622
Red Lake3877
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods3053
Cook1450

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357796

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55970604
Linn20297330
Scott19082234
Black Hawk15550306
Woodbury14897221
Johnson1404281
Dubuque13153202
Dallas1089196
Pottawattamie10747162
Story1031147
Warren555186
Clinton537390
Cerro Gordo521986
Webster508291
Sioux506073
Marshall477174
Muscatine459896
Des Moines441465
Wapello4253120
Buena Vista421740
Jasper407670
Plymouth397079
Lee368155
Marion354575
Jones293055
Henry286137
Bremer279260
Carroll279151
Crawford262040
Boone258533
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242043
Mahaska224850
Jackson217942
Kossuth212663
Clay211025
Tama206671
Delaware202839
Winneshiek194433
Page190321
Buchanan188831
Cedar183823
Fayette182941
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178049
Harrison176373
Clayton167055
Butler162534
Mills158620
Cherokee157138
Floyd155342
Lyon154741
Madison153919
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149051
Iowa145524
Hancock143534
Winnebago136031
Grundy135232
Cass134354
Calhoun133211
Jefferson130635
Emmet128840
Shelby128337
Sac127219
Louisa126849
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125241
Union124032
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112721
Palo Alto110922
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10030
Clarke98223
Keokuk94530
Monroe94128
Ida89633
Adair84532
Pocahontas83621
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7078
Taylor65212
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4949
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
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