"I'm on a mission from God to get all these caucus people to get off their behinds and do the right thing," said Bob Kuntz of Florida, 61, who heads the Hillary Now campaign.
"We are urging the folks here to represent Hillary at the caucus, to create such an earthquake that it will shock the world!"
Kuntz's rival, Adam Parkhomenko, an 18-year-old college student from Virginia who says his Draft Hillary 2004 campaign has racked up 42,000 signatures to Kuntz's 10,000, dreams of a deadlocked convention that will force Clinton to take the party's reins.
Neither cares much that New York's junior senator repeatedly has said she won't be a candidate in 2004.
"She's the party's star," he said. "Hey, anything could happen. And she's never said she wouldn't accept a draft."
Stressing that her Iowa visit came at the behest of the state party, Clinton said her appearance "fits into what I've done for years, which is to help support Democratic candidates who are running for office at the state, local and federal levels."
Gordon Fischer, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party who invited Clinton, insisted she was more an asset than a distraction. "To be perfectly blunt," he said, "when we inquired whether she'd be available to emcee, we made absolutely sure there wasn't even a ghost of a chance she was going to run for president."
And yet . . .
It is not just the prospect of diminishing the Democratic presidential field with her outsized presence. For all her pull as a Democratic draw, Clinton also works fund-raising magic for Republicans.
She has replaced the durable Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts as the scary star of direct-mail solicitations, and some Republicans are just as eager as Clinton fans to propagate Hillary-for-president rumors to boost party fund raising and unsettle the Democratic hopefuls.
"Every appearance she makes with them highlights the weakness of the field," said Christine Iverson, a national Republican Party spokeswoman.
And here's an interesting statistic:
Still, CNN snarkily insists:
I'm not convinced.
Edited by Drew, 15 November 2003 - 09:29 AM.