Letters from Decorah


MPR’s Morning Edition crew is in Decorah, Iowa this morning for a live broadcast from a booth at the Family Table Restaurant. Iowa, as you may have heard, has caucuses in about three weeks.

The local newspaper’s managing editor sounds like he’s getting tired of the political talk, but only because the candidates aren’t buying advertising in his newspaper. He’ll run a story the first time a candidate pulls into town. After that, they’ll have to win the White House without him.

In his assessment of the Iowa political landscape, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibi said, “advances in campaign tactics mean that nearly every campaign now has enough reach to score at least one face-to-face with every voter in the state.” The stop-spot here is Luther College. Romney, McCain, Edwards, and Obama have been here, but only Obama’s appearance seems to have students there still talking.

Political consistencies are nothing if not consistent. It’s a college town. And it’s being worked hardest by the Democrats. Only two have storefront headquarters in Decorah, Clinton and Obama. On Sunday night, volunteers in both offices — nearly across the street from each other — were working, making the phone calls few people like to get on Sunday nights.


Be sure to watch two slideshows produced by MPR’s Charlie Knutson and Jim Bickal. One features issues that area residents are focusing on, and the other looks at how they’ve chosen their candidate.

Later on Monday: Updates from the Family Table.

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