BY BRIAN COOTE
With less than 24 hours left to promote their campaigns, the presidential candidates ramped up their campaigns to take the Iowa Caucus victory. Countless rallies were held across the state. The Bruin was right in the middle of rallies for both Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden.
The staff started the day at the Pete Buttigieg rally. After arriving early at Lincoln High School and waiting in line, the staff met Senator Michael Donald Brown, a superdelegate interested in Buttigieg. Senator Brown was focused on getting Democrats to rally together. The students discussed his opinions on being undecided and how he would decide to vote in the upcoming caucus.
“It’s better to be undecided,” said Michael Brown. “The bottom line is this is a contest but we all are trying to get a strong Democrat and get Trump out”.
Brown also talked with the staff about the future generation and the importance of getting involved.
“You guys are the future. We talk the talk but you guys need to make us walk the walk. God bless each and one of you guys that stand up for a different principle and report it,” said Brown.
Once the rally started, Buttigieg took the stage. He discussed his beliefs on health care, student debt, and climate change. Like other candidates, Buttigieg exclaimed why it was crucial to vote at the Iowa caucus as the winner has a head start to reach the presidency.
Before the rally began, volunteers went around with paper in order to get questions from supporters. During the rally, Buttigieg randomly selected questions and answered them during his speech. Staffer Anna Wolfinger’s question was chosen where she asked since he believes climate change is a national security threat, what does he plan to do to help this issue?
“We need an actual national project to confront climate change,” said Pete Buttigieg. “This can not be a political tough of war this is too important and existential. It starts with doubling the renewables going onto the grind worse group transport and industry and by the middle of the century we will be a carbon-neutral society in the United States”.
After the rally, Buttigieg walked around and the staff shook hands and got pictures with Buttigieg. Bruin staffer Chris Steele caught Buttigieg while walking around and was able to ask him a question on how he is trying to reach out to the younger generation.
“Here is my outreach and my message to younger generations. The longer you are gonna be here the more stake you have in the choices that are gonna be made around climate around gun violence and around making sure the economy works from us,” said Pete Buttigieg. “We have to make sure we are acting now. We are running out of time and we need to build a multi-generation coalition. You need to spread the message and be part of that change”.
Steele was ecstatic about getting to interview a possible future president out of the hundreds of people at the rally.
“When I saw Pete going up to people taking pictures, I was thinking about how cool it would be to ask him a question even though it was a long shot,” said Steele. “It was a surreal moment getting talk to possibly the future president of the United States. It’s a conversation I’m gonna remember for a long time.”
Staffers also had the chance to attend a Joe Biden rally at a middle school in the evening. The gym was packed with Biden supporters and even a few hecklers that made unexpected jabs at him while he gave his speech. Though the retaliation was unexpected, the staff was still able to listen to Biden discuss his policies and hope for the future of American politics.
“It was kind of cool to see all of the different Democratic rallies and how their views differ,” said Micah Beck, a staffer in attendance. “Getting to go up close was super cool, too.”
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan also attended the rally and made time to meet the high school students. He paused for a moment to allow some Bruin staff members to interview him.
“I didn’t think that I would be that interested with his interview,” said self-proclaimed Republican Kate Messam. “I know who and what he supports and I’ve never really agreed with his views. I was impressed, though, when he came back to talk to me after being swept away by other reporters. He seemed genuinely interested in the quick conversation we had and he was very kind to everyone around us. I texted my mom immediately after and told her how cool the experience was.”
After attending rallies and grabbing dinner, the Bruin staff returned to the hotel in order to work on stories. While staffers were working a few were able to step aside and Skype Channel 5 News for an interview.
Micah Beck, 11, and Abby Wichterman, 12, were interviewed by Channel 5 about their experiences on the trip and their jobs.
“We were able to talk about the trip and all that we have learned so far,” said Wichterman. “I was so nervous to be interviewed but it ended up going really well. It is so cool that these bigger news sources are interested in what we are doing here in Iowa.”
The students are looking forward to attending the caucus tomorrow and continuing to work with the campaigns.