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Caucusing For Clinton, Refreshments Included

By Jose Antonio Vargas
WEST DES MOINES--Nothing attracts a crowd like free food.

Especially at the Iowa caucuses.

Less than three hours before the door opens at Valley High School, home to precinct 211, Tom Laughead stands in front of the deli section of the Hy-Vee on 35th Street, the grocery store down the street. Laughead serves as precinct captain for Sen. Hillary Clinton, and as a caucus veteran himself, he knows Clinton supporters will be expecting some food tonight. Clinton's Iowa operation, well-oiled as it is, has ordered the deli sandwiches and water. The only thing Laughead, had to do, a Clinton field organizer told him via phone and mail, is pick it up.

Laughead was a precinct captain for Sen. John Kerry in 2004. He supported Clinton the moment she announced her candidacy. The main reason: health care. It's the issue that concerns Laughead most. Clinton's experience with health care in the early 1990s, he says, means she knows how to really take care of the problem.

It's almost 4:30 p.m. Laughead's name isn't on the order list at the deli, the servers tell him.

Turns out, he went to the wrong Hy-Vee.

"I'm an idiot. We gotta drive to the other Hy-Vee," Laughead says.

It's about five miles away, and he rushes to his old, gray Pontiac.

See more from Laughead's day here and here.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 3, 2008; 5:46 PM ET
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