OTTUMWA -- There was a wee bit of rumbling in the lobby of the Fairfield Inn this morning over the fact that the New York Times chose to lead its story on Barack Obama with the fact that he swallowed a gnat in Mt. Pleasant. Truth be told, that incident was fairly amusing. (See picture number two below -- I took it just a few moments before the gnat bee-lined into Obama's open mouth, much too quickly for his Secret Service detail to react).
But the Iowa papers played Obama's visit as straight as a spine. Obama, the AP says, "focused on mingling instead of speeches." The AP split coverage duties: Iowa's Mike Glover stayed with Obama while Nedra Pickler followed Sen. Clinton.
The lion's share of Iowa journalism's resources were devoted to covering the Clintons, and the coverage was typically adulatory: "Candidate Clinton hits mark with those in crowd," headlines the Quad Cities Times. The national press found Bill Clinton's "old news" remark worthy of its attention.
The weirdest story of the day has to be a small brief buried in the Mason City Globe Gazette. It's about the how the Secret Service refused to allow veterans to fire rifles at an Independence Day parade. The story quotes one Jim Kantaris, a VFW quartermaster, as complaining that:
“There’s too much political stuff. They’re making us change 50 years of tradition because of two people,” said Kantaris. “And one of them is a draft dodger who turned the White House into a whorehouse.”