Jill Abramson goes to Iowa, to see the candidates with her ‘own eyes’

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Jill Abramson. (Screencap via CBS Sunday Morning.)
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New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson is getting into the thick of the early primaries her paper is reporting on: She'll go to Iowa at the end of December and beginning of January. The exact dates are yet to be determined, but she plans to be there for the Jan. 3 caucuses.

She said it's actually not a new development since she got the Times' top masthead position this summer.

"I'm going to see the candidates with my own eyes, which I do every campaign season, and gain insights and travel around with our political team," Abramson told Capital through a spokesperson when we asked about a tweet she had fired off earlier this week: "I'm heading to Iowa end of month."

That of course means Abramson will miss a few days' worth of the daily 10 a.m. story-planning meetings she conducts, as well as the 4 p.m. Page One meetings overseen by her managing editor, Dean Baquet. She may call in remotely as her schedule allows, though.

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Abramson has no plans to write anything of her own during her trip, the Times spokesperson said. But Iowa will be well-covered by the paper of record.

The Times has about a dozen reporters assigned to the race full-time, at least eight of which will be parachuting in for the campaign events: Ashley Parker, Trip Gabriel, Michael Shear, Jim Rutenberg, Jeff Zeleny, Rich Oppel, Nick Confessore and Jeremy Peters. Parker and Gabriel are assigned to the leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, respectively.

Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who'd been on book leave but is returning to the D.C. bureau full-time, will also apparently be out there for some of it. Abramson's tweet continued: "Excited @markleibovich rejoining our team and lands in Des Moines 12/26."