Clinton allies target Iowa youth

 

The Ready for Hillary Super-PAC is visiting six college campuses in Iowa next week, piggybacking on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE’s first visit to the state since her disappointing loss in the 2008 presidential election.

Clinton will appear Sunday at Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDemocrats are all talk when it comes to DC statehood The Hill's 12:30 Report Distance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday MORE’s (D-Iowa) steak fry, a must-stop for any presidential contender that might be even more important this year given Harkin’s pending retirement.

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She’ll have an opportunity to speak — and possibly flip steaks — before a crowd of 5,000 people in the state that will hold the first contest in the 2016 presidential race. 

Clinton finished a disappointing third in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 behind not only then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPatagonia files suit against Trump cuts to Utah monuments Former Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation MORE (D-Ill.), but to former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), too.

Sunday’s visit and the Super-PAC’s work show she’s determined to deliver a better result this year, and her allies are already keying in on young voters.

Twenty-three percent of Democratic caucus goers in 2008 were under 30 years old, highlighting the importance of winning the age group in Iowa — in the primary and general election, in which Iowa is a swing state.

More than half of the younger voters in Iowa supported Obama over Clinton, according to exit polling data.

The Ready for Hillary Super-PAC — which has already visited all of the Hawkeye State's 99 counties — will stop at Iowa State University, Drake University, the University of Iowa, Cornell College, Grinnell College and the University of Northern Iowa as part of an early effort to promote Clinton, who remains officially an undecided candidate. The visits are spread out throughout the week beginning on Tuesday and running through Friday. 

Polls suggest Clinton could do better in Iowa this time.

A new CNN/ORC poll released Friday shows that 53 percent of registered voters in Iowa say they would back her in a caucus if it were held today. She's well ahead of Vice President Biden — who is set to visit the state on Wednesday — at 15 percent. And Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received just 7 percent of support in the poll.  

Here are four other things to watch for this weekend from both Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton, who will accompany his wife to the steak fry.

1) It's not a rehearsal but a 'soft open'

The Clintons are aware of the stakes involved in Sunday’s event.

One former aide to Hillary Clinton said the steak fry amounts to not a rehearsal but a “soft open” for a potential Clinton campaign and an entree to the Hawkeye State. 

And as Clinton criss-crosses the country to campaign for various midterm candidates in the coming weeks, she'll have a large entourage accompanying her. 

Ready for Hillary aides — along with their bus — are expected to be at many of the midterm campaign stops to maximize the punch of each appearance, just as they are in Iowa. 

2) Don't expect either Clinton to say anything about 2016 

Yes, it's Iowa. Yes, it's an event with not just one but two Clintons. And yes, it's the first public political event, Hillary Clinton has attended in years.

But don't expect a peep about a run for the White House, or even a joke about coming back for a repeat visit. 

Clinton allies say that while there are obviously 2016 overtones to the event, they will keep the focus on Harkin during the visit — and also try to help Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who is facing a difficult race in keeping the Harkin seat in Democrats’ hands.

Republicans scoff at that notion, however, that the trip by the former secretary of State isn’t about 2016. 

“Hillary is going to Iowa because she's currently running a campaign for president — a rather unsuccessful one thus far seeing as her favorables have dropped 20 points since leaving State according to the most recent Wall Street Journal poll,” said Tim Miller, the executive director of the Super-PAC America Rising.

3) Don’t expect her to talk about her 2008 defeat.

Iowa and 2008 is a sore subject for most Clintonites, and Hillary Clinton doesn’t like to wallow in the history.

Most aides blame a poor Iowa strategy for the defeat, but would rather put their past dealings with Iowa in the “lessons learned” category.

“We'd like to forget any of that happened and focus on what's ahead,” said a former aide to Clinton. 

But those who oppose Clinton will want to constantly remind people about her Iowa failings. The Republican National Committee will be sending out a document to allies reminding them of Hillary’s third-place showing in 2008’s caucus.

4) Iowans will be saturated with Hillary Clinton … starting now

Coming into Des Moines from out of town? Expect to see a Ready for Hillary billboard when leaving the airport. And expect other Hawkeye State billboards — including one in downtown Des Moines — to sprout soon. 

It’s also set up to be a media circus.

More than a year before the Iowa caucuses, approximately 200 reporters have been credentialed to cover the steak fry, which  C-SPAN will broadcast live.