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Hillary's Iowa Hand


That's Hillary's Iowa state director, Teresa Vilmain, working the rope line and passing out caucus signup cards at Clinton's event tonight in the east-central town of Traer. (With a population of 1,594, Traer isn't exactly a prime campaign destination. One local at the event tonight told me Hillary was the first candidate she can recall visiting, and added that she'd never considered caucusing until Clinton showed up. "I never gave it any thought, but I'm kind of excited [now]," said Kathleen Cochran, who appeared to be in her sixties. "Just to have her in our little town is exciting." Cochran said she and her husband, John, are custodians at the American Legion post where Hillary appeared. "The Secret Service had a lot of questions for us!" she added.)

Initially I thought that Vilmain--who roamed the hall after Hillary's remarks calling, "Anybody want a caucus card?" and waving the cards in the air--was making an unusual, final-days appearance on the trail. But press aide Jay Carson (visible just to Vilmain's right in the photo above) tells me she frequently travels with Hillary around the state. The idea is to set an inspiring example for the whole campaign team.

You can read a good WSJ Vilmain profile here. And here she is conducting a "stand up" meeting at Clinton's Iowa headquarters shortly before Christmas.

--Michael Crowley