Hours Before the Caucus, Volunteers Hard at Work at Romney HQ

Jan 3, 2012 2:16pm

DES MOINES – At the Romney campaign headquarters in Iowa today, a group of 30 Romney volunteers made phone call after phone call, urging supporters and undecideds to head into the caucuses and deliver a victory for the former Massachusetts governor.

Armed with scripts – one for voters who weren’t sure if they’d head out tonight to caucus and another for voters who aren’t yet committed to a candidate – volunteers made calls, sometimes being rebuffed by the person on the other end of the phone.

“Not heading to the caucus, that’s not good,” said one volunteer, hanging up the phone, just as another volunteer thanked a voter for vowing to support Romney.

Another volunteer seated nearby spent well over five minutes on the line with one voter who was arguing that Gov. Rick Perry would be a better president. Eventually the volunteer thanked the voter and said, “Good luck to your candidate, do you know where your precinct is?”

Weaving in and out of the 50 or so phone stations, Romney’s chief Iowa strategist surveyed the scene.

“We really pushed hard here in the last couple of weeks,” said David Kochel. “The crowds grew and there’s a lot of enthusiasm.”

“I think Iowans are fired up,” he said.

The on-the-ground effort in Iowa is in full effect on caucus day, with tens of thousands of calls being made across the state. New technology will allow some volunteers to make calls from their home computers.

While the Romney campaign won’t say just how many precinct captains they have, they say they are confident that they’ve covered the “key precincts.”

Romney’s wife Ann and four of the couple’s five grown sons will speak at precincts tonight around the Des Moines area, as will South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who endorsed Romney last month. Romney himself is not scheduled to speak until his evening event at a Des Moines hotel.

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