Monday, August 20, 2007

Wrapping Up a Road Trip

I'm back from Iowa, and you may have noticed that I stopped blogging in the middle of the Presidential forum on Saturday night (when my cellphone died.) Both Edwards and Clinton did very well at the packed forum. Edwards is clearly the favorite of labor in Iowa. Some estimate that nearly 4000 people attended, and they were on their feet for much of his speech. The surprise, for me, was Obama. He had a bad night at the forum-really fell flat and was heckled at the beginning of his speech. After that, and then being targeted at the beginning of the ABC debate on Sunday, he probably really did feel like he was riding bumper cars at the fair. Anyone can have a bad couple of days, so we'll see.

Predictions at this stage of the game are risky, but I believe that Edwards will win Iowa, and that will put him in an excellent position going into the other early primaries. His organization is that state is very strong. Clinton will also do well there. Obama? Unless what I saw this weekend was an aberration, I don't think Obama will be in the top three. It would not shock me to see Richardson begin to overtake him there in the polls.

That's it. Great trip. It was fascinating to be in a state where the question is not "will you vote for me" but instead, "will you caucus for me." To caucus means that the person goes out on a cold and often snowy night (probably Jan. 5th), spends an hour or so debating platform and then caucuses for their favorite candidate-and maybe for their second favorite candidate if their first choice does not reach a certain threshold % required to earn a delegate. (The contrast to us giving people a week to take five minutes to vote is pretty stark.) These are serious, informed voters. I kind of like this system. Why should it be easy?

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