In late September former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, billed as the "Un-Hillary" in a New York Times Magazine profile, was among the putative Democratic candidates to speak at Senator Tom Harkin’s annual "Steak Fry" held on the Warren County Fairgrounds in Indianola, Iowa. In October, Warner withdrew from the race. Two weekends ago Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, another likely Democratic contender for 2008, was one of two Democrats campaigning in New Hampshire. He nearly filled a living room in the small Upper Connecticut valley town of Cornish. On Saturday Bayh announced that he would not be running for president in ’08.
"The Natural" (September 2004)
Why is Barack Obama generating more excitement among Democrats than John Kerry? By Ryan Lizza
Warner said he was withdrawing from contention because he did not want his three young children to grow up in the White House nor be known for the rest of their lives as the "president’s daughters." No doubt he was being sincere. But his decision must also have been influenced by what he saw at the steak fry: Barack Obama in action, addressing a rapturous crowd to tumultuous applause, and then plunging into a sea of Iowans to shake hands, sign books, notebooks, and shirt-cuffs, pose in family pictures, and listen to the voices urging, "Run, Barack, run." Warner could not compete with that.
As for Evan Bayh, he was glimpsed Sunday morning sitting with two people in a Manchester coffee shop while Obama was drawing 900 to a book signing in Portsmouth. That afternoon, Obama spoke to 1,500 cheering Democrats in a Manchester hotel.Introducing the tall, lithe, handsome, deep-voiced, 45-year-old Obama to a crowd that had paid $25 a head to celebrate the party’s victories in the November elections, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch joked that the state Democratic committee had originally invited the Rolling Stones—but at the last minute decided that Obama would sell more tickets. "I have never seen anything like this in my 40 years of being active in politics," Jack Buckley, former mayor of Dover, gushed to the Boston Globe’s Scott Lehigh. "If I were Hillary, I would be more than a little concerned." Bayh was so concerned he quit the race.