If a Democrat goes to Iowa, and it isn't Hillary Clinton, does it count?
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's trip to Iowa today may be just a hop and a skip over the border to a neighboring state, but its putting her squarely among the ranks of non-Clinton presidential contenders for 2016.
There is, after all, no accidental reason for a politician to be in Iowa -- ever. The problem: Even if she isn't in attendance, the specter of Hillary Clinton is still ever present.
Klobuchar speaks tonight at the annual Northern Iowa Democratic Party's Wing Ding fundraiser, a bastion of Democratic politics in the swing state that for the last 10 years has featured former presidential contenders like John Edwards in 2006 and Obama in 2007.
But former Secretary of State Clinton won't be far from the minds of the Iowans assembled. She'll receive the Beacon Award, for a "current or former elected Democrat who has embodied the principles of the Democratic Party and has accomplished significant Democratic ideals."
So where does that leave Klobuchar? Exactly where several other Democrats with presidential potential are for the upcoming contest: in limbo and persistently in Clinton's shadow.
When Vice President Joe Biden travels to Iowa in September, the cycle will repeat itself.
Klobuchar appeals to many Democrats who want badly to finally have a woman in the White House -- but, at the end of the day, she isn't Clinton.
"I think there are a lot of people like me who want to break the glass ceiling once and for all, and if Clinton decides to take a pass, I think Amy Klobuchar would be a great president," Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, told ABC News.
Klobuchar has answered the obvious questions about her travel to Iowa by saying simply: "It simply means I was invited to a wingding, and I think anything in Iowa makes a wingding out of a wingding, and that is all it is."
But it's not hard to see why, even as a back-up in the event that Clinton decides against a White House run, both Klobuchar and other Democrats might want to groom her national profile.
Klobuchar is a relatively new addition to the Senate who President Obama dubbed the state's funniest senator -- leaving a former comedian, Sen. Al Franken, in second place.
Direct and savvy, she still manages project a little Minnesota nice.
"She's very charismatic. She loves to be around people," Martin said. "I've never seen her shy away from a tough fight."
And Klobuchar has broken a few glass ceilings herself, becoming the first female Minnesota voters sent to the U.S. Senate after a heralded run as a county attorney. She has won re-election by solid margins and connects with Midwestern values -- something of an anti-Michelle Bachmann, Martin said.
Scott Brennan, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said she has built a reputation as someone who can work across the aisle in Congress and is just likable.
"She's a younger, newer member of the Senate, yet she has some of those old-time Senate skills: working across the aisle collegiately," Brennan said. "Everyone says negative campaigns work but, at the end of the day, people really do like people who are likeable."
"Look at Barack Obama: People may disagree with his political views, but people like him," he added.