By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff
DES MOINES -- Neither sleet nor snow nor iced-over roads kept Jackie Clegg Dodd from her campaign rounds today in Iowa, where severe winter weather led many presidential candidates to cancel their entire schedules.
Former President Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama canceled appearances on behalf of their spouses, Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois. Ann Romney canceled her scheduled meeting with voters in Creston, but walked through a skywalk mall -- adjacent to a hotel -- with her husband Mitt. Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina canceled what would have been a heavy day of campaigning in eastern Iowa, while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee disappointed fans in the western part of the state, canceling plans to campaign from early morning until evening.
But Dodd, wife of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, climbed into an ice-covered van and went out to visit shelters for homeless youth.
Without a coat.
"I'm from the Rocky Mountains. I'm not afraid of a little ice or snow,'' she said, joking about the "wimps'' too afraid to venture out in the storm.
True, the state capital of Des Moines was slightly more navigable than the interstate highways, which candidates would have had to traverse to make their campaign events. And with schools and businesses closed across the state, it was unlikely that many Iowa voters would have made the trip to see the candidates, anyway.
The Dodds now live in Des Moines, a temporary arrangement Jackie Dodd said gave more stability for the couple's two young daughters. The senator alleviated his girls' holiday worries by putting up a sign that said "We're Here, Santa'' in front of the Iowa home so the children would not miss their Christmas presents.
Today, the senator was in sunny Beverly Hills, unable to fly back because of the storm. But he called his wife during her snowy outing to say how anxious he was to come back to the Hawkeye State.
"Iowa is my Beverly Hills,'' he said.