Four years ago, the Val Air Ballroom became famous for a scream – yes, this West Des Moines landmark was where Howard Dean let out a shrill, shriek that many say was the beginning of the end of his presidential bid. This year the Val Air will sit empty on caucus night. Despite the Val Air being a prime location for a big party, the candidates will be celebrating at other locations this time around. Were the candidates afraid of the Dean jinx? I doubt any would admit it – but we can assume.
Despite the caucus-night (possible) jinx, the Val Air has been a flurry of activity leading up to the caucus. Last night, the stage was set for former North Carolina Senator John Edwards who brought a flurry of stars including John Mellencamp, who played five of his most politically-charged songs. “Champions for Change” were in attendance to hear the former Senator address the crowd and call for universal health care, citing examples of Iowans he hasmet who are uninsured or underinsured.
Two nights ago the Val Air stage was set for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who took the stage with his own superstar – Chuck Norris. “Champions for Change” also had a presence at this event. They reported hearing Huckabee touch on health care and financial security issues. He stressed the importance of preventative health care and also need to eliminate the IRS by enacting the “Fair Tax” – so that Americans can have more control of their savings and their overall long-term financial future.
Other than Huckabee and Edwards, over the past couple of months other candidates have graced the Val Air – but the stage will remain dark tonight, alleviating any analogies that could be drawn to the Dean debacle.
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