Iowa, with its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, has been celebrated for 30 years for its intimate campaigns where future presidents would perch on living room couches or sit at kitchen tables and take questions from 20 or 30 people late into the night.It seems to me that the living room campaign, invented by an obscure candidate, is best used by the obscure candidate. The living room campaign is not likely to work too well for this election. There are many big-name candidates and with the shift forward of many primary elections, they just don't have the time to sit around in people living rooms.
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A chapter in American political history that began in 1976 when Jimmy Carter rose from obscurity by working the living rooms and kitchens of Iowa may be drawing to a end. It is, at least for this election cycle, the victim of an era of celebrity candidates tracked by busloads of reporters, and of intense interest in the 2008 race among voters, who are turning out in numbers that would fill many, many living rooms.
But I wouldn't count this method of campaigning out all together. It worked in 1976 for the little guy. The one that needed to do something special to get people's attention. If this tool stops being the norm, it can once again be the tool of the little guy who needs special attention. If the "rock star" candidates neglect the personal aspect of campaigning for several election cycles, it just might open the door for the obscure candidate to use it as something special (and nostalgic) to get the voters' attention in the future.