And this was just the beginning for Biden’s insurgent campaign. The campaign aired a new television ad, “Cathedral,” across Iowa the same day of the debate, and released "Security” a few days later. Both ads focus on national security and Biden’s plan for Iraq. Whether or not this strategy will gain traction with Iowa voters has yet to be seen. Biden’s campaign has been consistently registering anywhere from 2 percent to 5 percent in the Iowa polls.
During a telephone interview with the Iowa Independent, Biden’s campaign dismissed those numbers, contending his campaign is just getting started in Iowa. “Our feet are just beginning to hit the ground in Iowa,” said Iowa Coordinator of Veterans for Biden James D. Mowrer, a Boone native who recently returned from a 16-month mission in Iraq with Iowa National Guard’s 133rd Infantry Battalion. “Not only are these our first campaign television ads, but we just officially launched our organizational efforts in Iowa.”
James Mowrer (right) poses with Jill Biden (middle) and Rep. Donavan Olson, D-Boone (left)
Regardless of his place in the polls, Biden’s campaign has been gaining traction in Iowa among Iraq War veterans, a bloc of voters that Biden’s campaign has been aggressively targeting. “Many Iraq veterans in Iowa are jumping on board with Senator Biden, mainly because of his strategy for Iraq,” said Mowrer. “I’m not 100 percent certain, but I think Biden has the most endorsements from Iraq veterans, and since the war in Iraq is the biggest issue in the campaign, these endorsements will be seen by caucus goers as an endorsement of Biden’s plan for Iraq.”
Although Iraq veterans and their families make up only a small percentage of the voter base in Iowa, Mowrer is confident the “Veterans for Biden” effort will have a big impact on the Iowa Caucuses. “It means a lot for caucus goers to really see which candidates are enlisting people in their campaign, who are most informed about the Iraq War,” said Mowrer. “I was an intelligence analyst in the Iraq War. Consequently, I had access to daily classified reports and assessments of what was going on in Iraq, and using that information, I decided that Sen. Biden is the best candidate to be the next commander in chief in 2009.” In addition to “Veterans for Biden,” the Biden campaign has extended itself to the “Military Families for Biden” as well.
In the “Security” ad, Biden lays out the case for why his leadership qualities and life experiences prepare him to be commander in chief and president of the United States. The current campaign is scheduled to run through Labor Day weekend at a cost of approximately $250,000.
Biden, along with son Beau, who is Delaware's attorney general and a captain in the Delaware National Guard, have teamed up in Iowa and have been laying the groundwork for these ads. Not only have they been touting Biden’s 34 years of experience in the Senate and insights accumulated while serving on the Foreign Affairs committee, the Biden tandem has pleaded the case to Iowans that there is no margin for error for the next commander in chief.
“We cannot rely on choosing a president, who we think can formulate the best foreign policy team. We’ve already seen the dangers of doing this,” Beau Biden told a group of veterans gathered at the Iowa Democratic Party Veterans’ Caucus Presidential Extravaganza in Des Moines earlier this month. “I want somebody sitting in the situation room, who the minute they’re sworn in doesn’t have to rely on the judgment of advisers. I want the smartest guy in the room to be the president.”
Using the previous two presidential elections as a precedent, Beau Biden went on to explain why the Democrats came up on the short end both times. “Al Gore and John Kerry lost their presidential bids, because they failed the national security test. It is a sin that a decorated Vietnam veteran failed the national security test,” Beau Biden said, referring to Kerry. “And what’s the first thing they used against Kerry? Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. I ask you to imagine, what they’ll do to the candidates who voted “no” on the Iraq war supplemental funding bill vote a few months ago.”
That bill would appropriate $120 billion in fiscal 2007 emergency spending, including $94.4 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure included a Biden amendment allocating $1.5 billion for Mine Resistant Armored Protected vehicles (MRAPs). Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., all presidential candidates, voted against the funding bill. Biden took a lot of heat from anti-war advocates, but because of his MRAP amendment, he stood behind his decision. “I will not cut funding for the troops that denies them the equipment they need to be safe,” Biden said on the Senate floor. “I don’t care what the politics are of that decision.”