A lot can happen under one Ramada Inn roof during a presidential election.
Senator Marco Rubio was trying to rally a few hundred Republicans, many of them undecided, in a ballroom while dozens of Midwest families splashed around in an indoor pool and waterslide.
The humid cloud of chlorine hit me like wave when I walked in to the Ramada in Urbandale.
I saw all these very pale families splashing around and I thought: there’s no way Rubio is having a campaign event here.
I was too embarrassed to ask families headed to the pirate ship splish splash, so I asked a man hauling a trashcan. Oh, I was in the right place. The Rubio event was just past the pirate ship.
As I walked toward the ballroom I couldn’t help wonder, was Donald Trump hiding in the pirate ship? Come on, you have to admit, that would have been a great stunt.
The setting was surreal, but then again this entire campaign season has been surreal.
By the time I got to the ballroom, I missed Rubio’s speech, but he was still working the room…one potential voter at a time.
Rubio stopped to talk to everyone, but he did so from behind a velvet rope. I felt like I was in LA nightclub and he was the celebrity. In this room Rubio was.
Volunteers were busy trying to get voters to commit to Rubio on caucus night. Many in the room were undecided, and were planning to attend rallies for other candidates.
That’s what I like about Iowa. People come out to hear and see a candidate for themselves.
There is something very inspiring about that level of voter engagement.
And, if you plan well, you can get a swim in too!
Footnote: I ran into the legendary Judy Woodruff, perhaps the best TV journalist of our time. She is the bar by which we all should be measured.