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The Gazette KCRG
Posted January 3, 2012
Democrats turn out for Obama in I.C.

IOWA CITY — About 500 people packed into the basement cafeteria at Iowa City High at a Democratic caucus, cheering video messages from President Barack Obama and clapping at the notion of building momentum for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

The crowd was standing-room only and more cafeteria tables had to be wheeled into the warm room for people who were sitting on the floor.

Local Democratic party leaders said it was a sign of the commitment of voters to get Obama returned to the White House. If Democrats want more to be accomplished, it’s important to be very engaged in the 2012 campaign, party leaders said.

“I think that anyone who thought there wouldn’t be a turnout for Barack Obama was sorely mistaken,” Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City, said in welcoming the crowd.

Iowa City resident Sara Steussy, 28, attended her third caucus Tuesday night. Even though the Democratic candidate choice of Obama “is a given,” Steussy said, she felt it was her duty to attend.

“I feel like as an Iowan it’s an important thing,” she said. “Making sure people are on board, still supportive.”

Some of the 10 precincts at the City High caucus did vote to send uncommitted delegates to the convention.

Ed Flaherty is president of the Iowa City chapter of Veterans for Peace

Caucus goer Ed Flaherty, of Veterans for Peace in Iowa City, spoke on behalf of the uncommitted delegation, urging people to join the uncommitted delegation to lobby for peace. The movement is not against the Democratic Party or proposing an opponent to Obama, Flaherty said, but rather pushing the peace agenda.

“I believe that advocating for peace is politically pragmatic,” Flaherty said. “How do we get the message through … to the Democratic party and Obama: give peace a chance.”

Iowa City resident Anne Duggan, a medical writer at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said it didn’t bother her that some in the Democratic crowd supported uncommitted delegates at the caucus. Letting people with differing views speak is an important part of the process, Duggan said.

For her part, Duggan said Obama’s campaign did a good job organizing supporters three years ago and has already started mobilizing voters for 2012.

“I think Obama’s organization really knows how to get people going,” she said.

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