IOWA–(ENEWSPF)–September 3, 2015. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders returned to Iowa on Thursday for a three-day swing to the state where a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics “Iowa Poll” showed him making big gains in an increasingly competitive contest.
He was a guest at Thursday’s taping of this weekend’s “Iowa Press” program on Iowa Public Television. He also met with The Des Moines Register editorial board before heading to Grinnell, where 700 people came out to hear Sanders speak from a gazebo in a city park.
He opened a new headquarters in Ottumwa, part of a growing field operation that has placed a staff of more than 50 on the ground in the state that next February will hold the first precinct caucus in the nation as the Democratic Party selects its nominee for the White House in 2016. And had another stop planned Thursday night in Burlington, a city in eastern Iowa along the banks of the Mississippi River.
“We are feeling very good about the campaign. We’re feeling good about what’s happening here in Iowa,” Sanders told a news conference in Johnston, Iowa, after taping the “Iowa Press” program. He said he was “very gratified” by the crowds that turn out to see him, which are larger than for any other presidential candidate in Iowa, and by his movement in the polls. The latest Register and Bloomberg poll released last weekend found 30 percent of caucus goers favored Sanders, only seven points behind Hillary Clinton, who the national press had deemed the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.
“When I began this campaign all of four months ago I think it’s fair to say that 80-90 percent of the American people did not know who Bernie Sanders was or what he stood for or the ideas that he was advancing. I think we’ve come a really long way.”
“We also understand that people coming out to a meeting or to a rally is not necessarily converted into votes. So what we’re doing right here in Iowa, we have put together dozens of folks. On the ground, right now, our people are out, knocking on doors, talking one-one-one,” Sanders added.
The Vermont senator praised the Iowa caucus process. “You demand a lot more of people than do people in the primary states. You demand people to know my views, know Hillary Clinton’s views, know Trump’s views and actually go to a meeting and argue about these things,” Sanders said. “I love that.”