Klobuchar returns to Iowa for last-minute blitz before Monday's caucus

After being sidelined for the Senate impeachment trial, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was back on the ground in Iowa on Saturday, making a last-minute push ahead of the caucus.

Klobuchar is squeezing every second out of the break in the trial, with the Senate is poised to acquit President Donald Trump this week. In Cedar Falls, she told about 200 Iowans at a women's club that she's a juror in the trial, but voters are the jury in the election.

"My first piece of profound advice as a juror in this primary is, we better not screw this up," said Klobuchar. "We better not screw this up because the stakes are just too high." 

Klobuchar’s weekend includes a seven-stop tour of Iowa, and the map reveals her campaign's strategy. All seven stops are in the northern half of the state, nearest the Minnesota border. Two of the events are in the Des Moines metro, but the other five are in smaller cities.

The campaign schedule would take 20 hours by car, but Klobuchar is commuting to several of the events by plane to maximize her time in the state. She will return to Washington on Monday -- caucus day -- as the impeachment trial resumes.

"Yeah we just went everywhere," she said, when a Cedar Falls audience member was surprised by her campaign schedule. "I've got to get a week in in two days!"

Klobuchar's campaign says 120 staffers are on the ground in Iowa, spread over 19 offices, making 100,000 contacts with voters every week. 

Her crowds include a cross section of voters: Republicans, Democrats, and people who say they are independents.

"I’m not going to vote Republican for Trump, and I feel she has the best chance to win the general," said Jerry Macken, who lives about 20 minutes north of Cedar Falls and plans to caucus for Klobuchar.

But Klobuchar's crowds also included people who don't plan to caucus for her.

Some said they were concerned about Klobuchar's poll numbers, because she has never led a poll in Iowa. Others said rival Joe Biden was a better match for Trump in the general election because of Biden's support among black voters.

"Being fourth in some of the polling makes me a little skittish," said Judy Myers of Cedar Falls, who brought a pink poster with a "to-do list" that included removing Trump from office. "I’ll go open-minded (to caucus) and take a look, but I’m thinking it’s going to be Joe Biden."

"She’s right there for me. I like her a lot," said Ann Porter-Stoner of Cedar Falls. "My pick is Joe Biden.
"For me, I hate to say this, the most important thing for me is to remove Trump from the White House."

Late Saturday night, Klobuchar finished her fourth campaign stop of the day, a rally at a junior high school in Des Moines. Her campaign said 700 people packed the gymnasium, Klobuchar's biggest crowd to date.

But as Klobuchar arrived at the school, the 2020 race was thrown a curveball: the gold-standard Iowa Poll release scheduled for that night was canceled.

The Des Moines Register, which sponsors the poll, said a candidate's name was left off at least one survey interview. Unsure of how many interviews had been conducted that way, the pollsters scrapped the release.

Pete Buttigieg's campaign later said it was Buttigieg who was left off the survey interview.