DES MOINES, Iowa, 7:15 PM – The floor of Senator Barack Obama’s Des Moines Iowa headquarters is soaked. Two canvassers walk in wearing thick-soled North Face hiking boots and you can see drops of water press out of the carpet around the edges of each shoe. Each volunteer that has come in out of the light snow and slushy streets tracks a tiny bit of the dreaded Iowan “wintry mix” into the office until the floor feels like what one volunteer calls it from her desk, “It’s a swamp, really.”
Matt Hasvold – an old high school buddy of mine who works for the South Dakota State University Collegian (www.sdsucollegian.com) – and I have been here two days now and have determined there are a number of minor inconveniences that come with the state of Iowa. One is the cold. You try to stand outside for 90 seconds to top off your gas tank and your fingers swell up like hot dogs when you return to the heat-blasted environs of your car. And we’re both from South Dakota. We know what it’s like to drive through zero-degree weather and shovel snow in sub-zero wind chill conditions. We can handle the cold.