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Tales from the trail: It's throwback Thursday for Clinton supporters

Many people showing up at campaign events featuring Bill Clinton were supporters of the former president, and it's a key advantage for Hillary Clinton.
A 1992 Des Moines Register newspaper President Bill Clinton's win is displayed during an event in support of Hillary Clinton at the Clinton campaign office in Ames, Ia., Jan. 26, 2016. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty)
A 1992 Des Moines Register newspaper President Bill Clinton's win is displayed during an event in support of Hillary Clinton at the Clinton campaign office in Ames, Ia., Jan. 26, 2016. 

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Throwback Thursday

WAVERLY, Iowa — Rachel Wohrlin said she had tears in her eyes after watching former President Bill Clinton campaign here Thursday on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton.

"When I was first able to caucus or vote, the first time was here at Wartburg College," Wohrlin said. "I was a student and I was 19 and really excited, and I caucused for Bill Clinton."

Over two decades later, " I'm a mother and I'm living here in Waverly. I'm facing different issues and I'm caucusing for another Clinton," she said cheerily.

Since President Clinton hit the road in support of his wife earlier this month, stories like these are not uncommon. Many of the people showing up at these events were supporters of the former president and have fond—even glowing— memories of his presidency. It's a key advantage for Hllary Clinton, who has a surrogate that has done the job before, and can forcefully, clearly, and credibly tout her record and qualifications for the office.

Not all campaigns can routinely get a room of a few hundred people to an event that doesn't feature a candidate. Fewer, can get former presidents.

"It was just an amazing experience to see him," a beaming Wohrlin said.

-- Shaquille Brewster covering the Iowa caucuses

Hey Chris Christie: Sign This

DUBUQUE, Iowa—When candidates aren't being asked for a selfie, they're being asked to sign some strange things - but Wednesday night Chris Christie was asked to sign a couple of historic posters.

The posters depict Eagle Point Park reprinted from 1910 postcards and are signed by the majority of presidential candidates - and a couple of celebrities - who have come through Dubuque since 2004.

"I originally started doing this because I was trying to save this from development," Sarah Sutton said of the project. She said was spurred by a city council decision that would have allowed a condominium to be built at the base of the park.

The first signature on the poster was John Kerry when he was running for president in 2004 and Sutton originally planned to give him one of the posters as a gift, but instead kept collecting signatures.

Now, Sutton says she'll eventually donate the posters to the Center for Dubuque History, but for the time being, she keeps them in a homemade cardboard envelop when they're not being autographed by candidates.

Sarah Sutton of Dubuque, Iowa holds up the posters she asks presidential candidates to autograph when they campaign in the area. Jordan Frasier/NBC News

Among the signatures of Christie, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are also Carole King and Willie Nelson, who have also made their way through Dubuque in recent years.

-- Jordan Frasier covering the Bush campaign

It's different in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's different here this week.

Instead of two or three cameras at campaign events, there are 15. Instead of 100 Iowans, there are several hundred at these rallies.

Instead of Ted Cruz having one surrogate introduce him on stage on Wednesday night, he had five — Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Steve King, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and social conservative leaders Bob Vander Plaats and Tony Perkins.

At that event, tripods collapsed over one another as a coffee spilled over a reporter's computer and jacket. Cables were strewn across the floor. There is suddenly a lack of floor space — even for one's feet — as the masses increasingly pack into the venues for the candidates' events.

They're comprised of Iowans but also out of towners. Two sisters — Nathalie Swisher from Texas and Patricia Hackman from Pennsylvania — jumped off a plane at the airport down the road just before the event started and drove over to see Cruz.

"This was an opportunity to come to Iowa, and we jumped on it!" exclaimed Swisher, who, along with her sister, are volunteering these final days as part of Cruz's "strike force."

The sisters even flew into Des Moines on the same connecting flight as Cruz's wife, Heidi, out of Charlotte, N.C.

"She asked us what we were doing, and we said we're coming to work for Ted," said Swisher.

Ted Cruz, who has a knack for shaking each hand before he exits the building, couldn't finish off this room on Wednesday night in West Des Moines.

Just two months earlier, Marco Rubio's campaign utilized the same banquet room with breathing space, but this is the week of the caucus. And it may be cold outside, but I've learned quickly it's unlikely you'll leave the event without a sweat.

Five days to go in Des Moines!

-- Vaughn Hillyard covering the Cruz campaign

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