Hillary Clinton Campaign Kicks into Gear

It was bitter cold at the ground zero construction site in lower Manhattan this morning, but if Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was freezing, she never let on.

Her bare hands shoved deep in the pockets of a wool coat, she spoke briefly and then stood quietly as no less than 10 other speakers went to the podium to demand more federal assistance for emergency workers and volunteers who've developed respiratory illnesses following their efforts at the World Trade Center site.

While she was sharing the spotlight, the campaign machine was rolling on.

Staffers are frantically making plans for Clinton's first visit to Iowa in three years. Because of her Senate duties in Washington this week, Clinton will wait until Friday night to head to Iowa. Campaign officials said she'll likely make multiple stops on Saturday and Sunday, including Des Moines.

With the first caucus in the nation, Iowa demands attention. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., has spent much of his time there since being on the losing ticket in 2004. He has traversed the state and is very popular there.

"I'm strong in Iowa, strong in New Hampshire, strong in all the primary states and the campaign is just beginning. I feel very good about it," Edwards told ABC News over the weekend.

Clinton's team is well aware that they need to make inroads in that state and other early primary states quickly. Much like her successful listening tour of upstate New York, which led to her first election to the U.S. Senate in 2000, campaign organizers plan to have the senator speak in intimate settings, where she can talk to voters one on one.

"Our challenge, what we need to do now is to get Hillary Clinton out to meet with the voters, to talk to them, to talk to them in small groups, and let her explain her positions," said longtime Clinton friend and national chairman for Clinton's campaign Terry McAuliffe.

"That's our challenge and that's what we need to do," added McAuliffe. "Now we've got to go do retail politics across this country."

It may take a while to win voters over. As one Iowa resident told ABC News, "I don't think she'll play well in Iowa because I don't think she's hands-on, very personal, very close. I am having a hard time picturing her winning in the coffee shops in Iowa."

In the coming weeks Clinton will at long last also return to New Hampshire. Finally. To avoid speculation about her future political plans, she purposefully hasn't set foot in the Granite State since October 1996 -- more than a decade ago.

She has, however, been making phone calls to those states. Last weekend, the senator and former President Bill Clinton spent much of their time away from cameras in their Chappaqua, N.Y. home, calling supporters across the country.

Clinton has been reaching out to political fundraisers, who will in turn reach out to donors. Officials say her campaign has an extensive network of fundraisers that extends from coast to coast. And yes, that includes Chicago -- the home base of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton's campaign hasn't announced yet how much money has been raised in recent days, but the senator started the process with about $14 million already in the bank. And they say her war chest is growing by the minute.

"The response has been overwhelming," said campaign adviser Howard Wolfson. "We are extraordinarily gratified by it."

Immediately following her announcement on Saturday an e-mail soliciting donations was sent to supporters. And late Saturday the campaign boasted of signing up 100 new supporters online every minute.

Still, the 2008 election is more than a year-and-a-half away. Big donors are faced with many choices --on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the race.

One well-connected film producer said Clinton is not drawing "nearly the number (of donors) it would've been a few years ago" because there are so many other candidates and potential candidates asking Hollywood for support at this early point in the race. "People are scared to be on the wrong candidate," he said.

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