This was originally published in the November 1 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Sign up here to receive it every weekday morning.
(CNN)It's the dinner that makes history.
The biggest moment yet in the Democratic campaign for President takes place Friday at the Liberty and Justice celebration (formerly the Jefferson Jackson dinner, before the party stopped ignoring those two presidents' slave-owning legacies.)
This rowdy festival in Iowa is a fabled political moment. Campaigns shell out for hundreds of tickets for supporters. Candidates march through downtown Des Moines to the event, putting on shows of organizing and financial muscle that help handicap the field. In a test of dexterity, nerves and message, each candidate gets about 10 minutes onstage, no notes allowed.
It was here in 2007 that Barack Obama supercharged a slumbering campaign and went on to win Iowa, the nomination and the presidency. Sick looks on the faces of Hillary Clinton's staff after his soaring address told the story. Four years earlier, John Kerry's do-or-die speech had launched a comeback that helped him grab both the caucuses and the nomination.