Update: from the comments (is this what Obama calls “new politics” – dissing the biggest voting bloc in Iowa?): Below are excerpts from the Des Moines Register story back in August when Obama said he would not attend the AARP forum:
The decision to not attend the AARP event, aimed at issues important to people 50 and older, could nag at the Illinois senator, some Democrat activists and political observers said. AARP is a national association formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.
“I understand what he’s trying to do, and I guess I’ll cut him some slack,” said undecided Iowa City Democrat Anne Tanner, who is 68. “But the audience skews older in Iowa, and I don’t think a lot of them are going to understand.”
The AARP forum is expected to focus on issues such as health care and retirement security, top concerns for Iowa’s 50-and-older crowd.
That group also has carried disproportionate clout in recent caucuses, according to Iowa Democratic Party statistics.
In 2004, 64 percent of the people who participated in the Democratic presidential caucuses were 50 or older. In 2000, the figure was 63 percent.
Iowa State University political science professor Dianne Bystrom said she would have thought Obama would have made an exception for the AARP forum.
“He may not think that’s his political base,” said Bystrom, whose expertise includes debate strategy. “But it’s the older voters that go to the caucuses, and I think he’s really passing up an opportunity to speak to those voters.”
Just a reminder: tomorrow is the AARP Democratic Candidate Forum in Davenport, Iowa. The forum will be at 7:00 p.m. The moderator will be Judy Woodruff. We will have full coverage all day tomorrow and of course will be on the job during the forum. Hillary Clinton will attend the forum.
Another reminder: Hillary was the only Democratic candidate that attended the September 8, 2007 AARP convention attended by over 25,000 AARP members.
About 63% of Iowa caucus voters are seniors.
With so many senior voters in Iowa the question that must be asked is Why Is Barack Obama Not Attending The AARP Forum? Is the Obama campaign so braindead that they will blow off all these voters? Is Obama not attending because of previous unflattering things he has said about older voters?
John Edwards will attend the AARP forum even though he says he dislikes lobbyists. Well John Edwards dislikes the lobbyists he dislikes. Other lobbyists he likes. Which Edwards will we see tomorrow night? By the way John, AARP does a lot of lobbying (they topped Fortune’s 1998 Lobbyist rankings).
It’s been 20 years since there was a presidential debate in Davenport, and this one may be the first to be nationally televised.
“This is extraordinarily good national awareness for the Quad-Cities,” said Joe Taylor, president of the Quad-Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.
As of Tuesday, 286 public television stations were picking up the forum, including nine of the top 10 television markets in the country.
Five presidential candidates — U.S. Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware, Hillary Clinton of New York, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson — are taking part. Only U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has said he won’t attend.
Two candidates who have been included in other debates, former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, were invited to the forum but didn’t respond, according to AARP. However, they fail to meet the criteria set for participation, which includes having a campaign office in the state. Neither has an office in Iowa. [snip]
Divided We Fail is a coalition of AARP, business and labor unions.
On Tuesday afternoon, Fuller and a handful of others were readying Davenport’s 2,400-seat theater for a sold-out audience. [snip]
Later, lights would be tested. And, in the event that Obama “shows up at the door,” as Fuller put it, they’ll be ready. “We brought an extra podium, and we have extra lights,” he said.
What is Obama doing tomorrow that is more important than this nationally televised forum?
Guess, tomorrow is another Hillary day.