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Hello, Iowa, this is Bob Casey calling for Hillary Clinton

Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has been making calls to persuadable Iowa voters to talk with them about Hillary Clinton.

DES MOINES – Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, has been campaigning for Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses, but he hasn't set foot in the state.

Instead, Casey said, he's been telephoning a "targeted list" of Iowa Democrats, many of them identified as supporters of former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, as well as some who are backing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the socialist who is in a tight race with Clinton, and others who were undecided.

He asked voters what they were thinking, gave a pitch for Clinton, and asked them to consider the former secretary of state as a second choice.

The latter is particularly relevant in the case of O'Malley backers. Under Democratic caucus rules, any candidate who gets less than 15 percent of attendees in a precinct is deemed not "viable," and that person's supporters can join another candidate's group.

"It's amazing how polite and engaged they are," Casey said. "They listen to you, and they love to talk about how they view the race. You sense some patterns. People might have landed somewhere else, but if things go the other way, they'll support her. A lot of them were focused on practical considerations, such as who can beat the Republican."

Nobody hung up on him, Casey said. Neither did the Iowans seem at all surprised that a U.S. senator from a distant state wanted to talk to them. "They were very matter of fact," he said.

Casey remembered placing calls to Vinton, Atkins, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Independence, Strawberry Point and Dubuque, among others.

Though momentum in the campaign so far has favored the candidates with little to know political experience who are best at channeling voter frustration and anger, Casey believes that Clinton's extensive experience will be attractive to voters when the race comes down to a binary choice.

"I don't think we've had anyone as prepared as Hillary to be president," at least in modern times, Casey said.