Beyond Chicago

Iowa moms caucus for gun sense

By Enrica Nicoli Aldini

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Lunch break at Hamburg Inn, an iconic Iowa City diner that’s an obligatory stop for many presidential hopefuls campaigning out here.

We noticed the four women at the table beside ours were sporting t-shirt and pins saying “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” The smell of good quotes almost covered the fragrance of the award-winning burgers that were being served up hot and ready.

“Gun sense is what we’re caucusing for, and that’s why we’re pushing the moms to get out and show up on Monday,” said Rebecca Truszkowski, local chapter leader for Moms Demand Action.

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Racing to catch Clinton, Sanders calls for “political revolution”

By Enrica Nicoli Aldini

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Bernie Sanders is tailgating Hillary Clinton in Iowa. With only four points separating the Democratic frontrunners,  the Vermont senator is working to overtake the former secretary of state in the final days before the Iowa caucuses.

Tapping into his ambitions for a political revolution in America, he is casting himself as the non-establishment Democratic candidate who would redistribute the country’s income to benefit the middle and working classes, reform the criminal justice system and reduce the cost of education and health care.

“When we talk about the anger that’s going on in America, it is the fact that ordinary people today are working longer hours for low wages and yet they’ve been seeing that most of the new income and wealth go to the top one percent,” he told a crowd that filled the  Danceland Ballroom on Friday in Davenport, Iowa’s third-largest city. “And whether the establishment likes it or not, we are saying enough is enough, that’s going to change.”

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Who would be on a Trump ticket?

By Morgan Gilbard

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Timothy Hagle is hounded by reporters every four years for his thoughts on the Iowa caucuses. His analysis of campaign strategy, minute details of candidate demeanor and insight into Iowa life is basically a second job.

The University of Iowa professor, like the rest of us, is shocked by how far Trump has made it. So, speculating about Trump’s vice presidential pick no longer seems ridiculous.

“In some sense, he might go for someone with more government experience,” Hagle said. “I can’t see him going for another total outsider. That might make it too easy for Democrats to attack—saying ‘They don’t know how to do it. They don’t know how to get things done.” Continue reading

Christie makes voters curious, not excited

By Morgan Gilbard

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Presidential hopeful Chris Christie drew more uncertain voters than die-hard fans to his town hall forum Friday night. Voters dissatisfied with the Republican frontrunners came to give Christie a look – and left with greater respect for the New Jersey governor.

“I think Donald Trump is a bully,” said Fran Draude, a retired mailman and undecided voter. “The other people are negative. We’re tired of that and they’ve done that for too long. And it’s time for a change.”

Recognizing that he might have voters like Draude in the audience, Christie took advantage of the spotlight with a well-practiced Trump impression.

“I’m gonna make everyone incredibly wealthy,” Christie said in a deep New York accent. “Not as wealthy as me, but incredibly, incredibly wealthy.” Continue reading

Maverick youth: the generational war of the Republican Party

By Morgan Gilbard 

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio may be trailing in the polls, but he is capturing the attention of young Iowa voters uninspired by Republican front-runners in a party often seen as too old and too white.

“Our generation has a more hopeful message rather than an angry kind of message,” said Meaghan O’Brien, president of the Hawkeyes’ Marco for President chapter and a campaign volunteer.  “I feel like he has the potential to not only further the Republican Party, but also reach across the aisle and solidify a stronger relationship with Democrats.” Continue reading

Gov. Chris Christie pushes policy, calls for end to ‘Washington talk’

By Alison Martin

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Just three days before Iowans make their choices for president, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told supporters and undecided residents of this Mississippi River town that he is the candidate who will “tell is like it is.”

“We don’t need a president who is steeped in Washington talk, because it’s what driving us crazy,” Christie said to a largely middle-aged crowd at St. Ambrose University. “It’s Washington talk that is making everyone in this country angry.”

As Exhibit A, he pointed to Thursday night’s debate and the struggles of two of his Washington-based rivals, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz , to explain their shifting views on immigration.

“That performance last night was pitiful,” Christie said. “You’re not going to get that from me tonight.”
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Hillary Clinton advocates affordable education in college visit

By Caroline Kenny

DES MOINES, Iowa–Appealing to students worried about rising college costs, Hillary Clinton called Friday for student loan reform and urged state governments and university presidents to work together to lower tuition.

Clinton criticized a proposal by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her chief Democratic rival, that would provide free tuition at all public four-year colleges and universities.

“I do not intend to pay for Donald Trump’s youngest child, or other billionaire children, to go for free to college,” Clinton told Medill Reports after a Friday speech at Grand View University in Des Moines. “They will have to pay.”
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Jeb Bush: I’m “more cerebral” and “better looking” than my brother

By Steve Musal

CARROLL, Iowa — Jeb Bush, the son and brother of presidents, did not shy away from his famous family on Friday during a town hall event that drew an audience of about 150 people.

“Frankly, I’m proud that my father was president of the United States and I’m proud that my brother was president of the United States,” Bush, a Republican former Florida governor, said to loud applause.

As Bush tries to climb into the top tier before Monday’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, he was also careful to keep a certain distance from the record of his older brother, George W. Bush, the nation’s 43rd president, who was deeply unpopular when he left office.

“I’ve lived a very different life than my brother,” he said. “My life experiences I’m not saying are better or worse, but they’re different and we’re different because of that. He’s probably more disciplined and focused; I’m probably more cerebral.”

And he said this: “I’m much better looking than my brother.”

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