Obama: Hi. this is Barack Obama. The first in the nation Iowa caucus plays a critical role in choosing our party's nominee, and Iowans take it very, very seriously. Please watch this video and find out how the caucus works. And help me not just change political parties in the White House, but change politics in Washington. Thanks so much.
Male Announcer: The Citizens Guide to the 2008 Iowa Caucus.
Thanks so much for your time. By watching this video, you're taking your first step toward caucusing for Barack Obama and helping to bring change to America.
But what is a caucus.
Well, a caucus is fundamentally a meeting held right in your neighborhood. You won't have to go far to participate. [SFX] You will join Democrats in Iowa to discuss who should be the presidential nominee of the party and make a public declaration of your support.
We have with us today former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party Gordon Fischer.
So Gordon, what can you tell us about a caucus.
Gordon Fischer: Well it's an exciting process and can be a lot of fun. In January, each of Iowa's 1,784 precincts holds a caucus to help determine who's going to be the next president of the United States.
Announcer: So who can attend a precinct caucus?
Fischer: Every Iowan who is going to be 17 by Nov. 4th 2007.
Announcer: Do you have to be a registered Democrat?
Fischer: Yes, but you can register as a Democrat the night of the caucus, even if you're currently registered as an independent or even a Republican.
Announcer: So, let me get this straight. If I'm a Republican or an Independent, I could show up to caucus for Barack Obama?
Fischer: Yep, you got that right, and you certainly won't be the only one.
Announcer: So who's going to be at the caucus.
Fischer: Folks from your community. So it'll be your friends and neighbors.
Announcer: And where might a caucus take place?
Fischer: Anywhere in your area. A cafeteria, a gym, a senior center, a court house. Your caucus location will be published in the local newspaper.
Announcer: Or on Iowa.barackobama.com, right?
Announcer: Today we're going to walk you through waht a real caucus might look like. We're holding this one at Hoover High School. [bell SFX]
Text: Caucus Day
Fischer: On Caucus Day, Thursday January 3rd, it's important that you arrive before 6:30 p.m..
After you arrive, you sign in and have an opportunity to register as a Democrat.
[Scene of woman arriving at caucus][Bell SFX] Announcer: What happens if you arrive late?
Man: Hey, are you here to caucus?
Woman: Yeah; I'm not registered though.
Man: Okay, follow me. It's easy. I'll show you.
Woman: Okay great.
Fischer: You blew it. You must be in line before the doors close at 7 p.m. [doors closing SFX] to participate.
Text: Inside the Caucus Room
Fischer: The first thing you do once you're inside the caucus room is find your precinct captain. [bell SFX]
Announcer: They'll represent the Obama campaign, right?
Fischer: I am about to call the meeting to order.
Fischer as caucus chair: Dear Iowa Democrats, we gather on a very exciting and purposeful evening....
Fischer: And then after some introductions and announcements the action starts. [cheers, applause]
Text: The Action: How Iowa Democrats Select Their Candidates
Announcer: So Gordon, walk us through how we select a candidate.
Fischer: On January 3rd Iowans will gather in their neighborhoods to award delegates to the presidential candidates.
In our caucus we will be awarding 7 delegates.
To get this process started, the first thing we do is count the number of people in the room.
Fischer as caucus chair: One, two, three, four, five...
Fischer: Our caucus has 28 people. The next thing we do is divide up into preference groups. In this case, the candidates are red, blue and green.
Announcer: What about the people in gray?
Fischer: The folks in gray are uncommitted to any candidate.