It's nearly 8pm here in downtown Des Moines. It's already been a long day. These waiting-for-the-Presidential-candidate events definitely aren't quick. The afternoon started with a little excitement, almost too much excitement. We have to drop off our equipment, so the secret service can check through it all before events like this one for Barack Obama tonight.
We were told we could pick up our equipment and get into our place on the media riser at 4:30. 4:30 came and went and so did many media's patience. Many of us needed to be in place for our 5pm live shots on the news. It was close. Producers back at the station kept calling wondering if we were going to make it. At about 4:45pm, the secret service started letting us come through the security line. We made it onto the media riser by 4:52pm. Crisis averted.
I'm hearing there may be 10-11,000 here tonight. It's a far cry from the 75,000 who came out to hear Obama in Portland, Oregon. But let's not forget those Oregonians don't get much of a chance to see these v.i.p.'s like we do in Iowa.
From where I'm sitting, I can see the line stretching on the ends of two different blocks. This place will be packed. I can't imagine many of these people will even get to see a glimpse of Obama. You would hope they can at least hear him.
The Obama folks say this won't be a victory speech here tonight. But I bet it will come close. I'm sure Obama won't dog on Hillary Clinton. Expect a little praise for her, no praise for John McCain and a lot of praise for Iowans. It all started here, remember. And I doubt Obama will let any of these people here tonight forget it.
Nor will he let people across the country forget. Make that people across the world. There are about 300 media members here, someone from the Obama campaign just told me. I've already seen Japan and German crews. I'm sure there are many more.
You wonder if Iowans are tired of this yet. Or maybe January to May was enough of a break. I guess we'll know once we see how many people come here.