Kerry is Campaigning in Iowa Again, but Not for Himself
Former Secretary of State John Kerry criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the Iran situation while campaigning for former Vice President Joe Biden at the Adel Family Fun Center in Adel last week.
Kerry garnered the most applause of the day when he said that if Joe Biden were president, the United States would be looking at diplomatic measures, rather than rushing to war. He spoke at length about foreign policy and later answered questions from reporters on the subject.
He also spoke about the Paris Climate Agreement, which he had helped negotiate as secretary of state. Kerry criticized Pres. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement signed by 195 other nations including China and India.
Former Secretary of Agriculture and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who has endorsed Biden, was also in attendance. He nearly brought the room to tears when he talked about losing a grandchild to cancer. Biden himself is no stranger to tragedy – he lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972, and his son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
The room was filled with mostly older, retirement-age people. The crowd looked evenly split between men and women, although it was mostly white.
One man, who said he was all in for Biden, donned a Kerry for Veterans t-shirt from the 2004 campaign. During his speech, Kerry noticed the man’s Marine Corps hat and thanked him for his service. Kerry had grown up in a military family and served in the Navy Reserve.
Several of the other people in the room said they were still undecided about whom to support in the caucus, but many of them said they were strongly considering Biden.
One woman told me she preferred candidates who were further to the left than Biden, but she said she understood that scared some people and wanted to hear what Kerry had to say.
But what was not reflected in the room was the diversity of Biden’s base. Biden is by far the top candidate in the race among African American voters.
A Washington Post-Ipsos national poll found 48 percent of black Democrats support Biden. Senator Bernie Sanders came in second place with 20 percent support, and Senator Elizabeth Warren came in third with 9 percent.
Biden also leads the polls in Nevada, where Hispanic voters play an important role in the Democratic primary, and South Carolina, two states that are much more diverse than Iowa.
Vilsack brought up Biden’s strong polling numbers as another reason voters should support him. He argued Biden is the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He also argued Biden is competitive in states Democrats would like to flip – North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas.