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Salon precinct reporting from Iowa

Salon has a piece with reports from 3 different Democratic precincts that provides some insight into last night's Obama victory in Iowa. If we see similar momentum in New Hampshire - a historical stomping ground for independents - Obama could roll right into the nomination from there. There will be no "comeback kid" story for Hilary Clinton if she loses both states.

From Precinct 67:

The battle for Precinct 67 was decided in the parking lot. Just the crush of cars filling every parking lot around Central Campus, a high-school academy just west of the city center, signaled that this would be a big night for Barack Obama. As Jeffrey Hunter, the owner of the Hotel Fort Des Moines (yes, he is my temporary landlord), who was caucusing for Obama, said amid the bedlam in the school cafeteria, "I've never seen turnout like this." Democratic turnout here in Iowa Gov. Chet Culver's home precinct wound up more than doubling 2004 levels.

From Precinct 47:

Precinct 47 more than doubled its turnout over 2004, when 160 Democrats caucused. This time around 350 showed up, and 144 went for Obama on the first round. [Gordon] Fisher explained his candidate's appeal in a short, passionate speech, trying to sway supporters of candidates who didn't get 15 percent -- which meant everybody except Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. "I used to be the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and I like to think I know something about electability," he said, and he pointed to the Obama signs proclaiming "Unity" that lined the walls. "It takes more than Democrats to win an election. Time and time again, Obama has shown an ability to win independents and Republicans."

From Precinct 15:

A white-haired woman in a Tommy Hilfiger sweater walked across the aisle to the Obama crowd, waving a Hillary Clinton sign, and started screaming, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" She had to be pulled away by her friends. Obama's group, in turn, started chanting, "Hope! Hope! Hope! Hope!" as Betty Andrews exhorted them on. "You want hope, step this way! If you believe in change, step this way!"

The director of Iowa's African-American Festival (scheduled for Des Moines in 23 days), Andrews supported Clinton until early December -- and she had a convert's zeal for her new cause. "It's Obama's time," she said.

Fascinating stuff.

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