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"Oh, I know
all I owe
I owe Ioway..."
-- "All I Owe Ioway," from Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "State Fair."

It seems Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee owe Ioway bigtime! With the lion's share of Iowa caucus returns in, Democrat Obama has 38 percent and Republican Huckabee 34 percent, according to the Des Moines Register website. Trailing Obama are Dems John Edwards (30 percent), Hillary Clinton (29 percent), and Bill Richardson (2 percent). Republicans behind Huckabee are Mitt Romney (25 percent), and John McCain and Fred Thompson tying with 13 percent each.

Far away from the gold ring was Democrat Joe Biden (1 percent), who has dropped out of the race, and the result was 0 percent for Dems Chris Dodd (who has also withdrawn), Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich. The rest of the Republican field included Ron Paul (10 percent), Rudy Giuliani (3 percent), and 0 percent for Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter.

This seems to be the first year the world at large has been obsessed with the caucuses (as much as I enjoy politics, I never bothered looking up the process before!), so for anyone who wants caucusing clarified, here's a link: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071219/NEWS09/71219068

So those are the results. Here are my thoughts:

Enough with the media predicting winners before anyone caucuses or votes! This has been my pet election peeve all along. Newspapers and broadcast media have been only too happy to tell me who the 'frontrunners' were, creating a huge potential for self-fulfilling prophecies. (If you want to give money and volunteer support to a candidate but he has been declared "second tier" and "unelectable," are you going to put your weight behind a "loser"?) There have been some highly experienced, competent, serious candidates in this race who have never been given the attention they deserve because they are not the "sexy" contenders (first black President! first woman President!). They have been declared over before they began, and I resent the power to caucus or vote being taken away from the people. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden are out of contention, who knows how many others are about to drop out, and New Hampshire hasn't even voted yet! By the time my state votes (April 22nd), the only decision left to make will be what the nominees wear to the convention...

I'm glad to see a few surprises (for those media folks mentioned above who don't want to let voters' voices be heard): Hillary third, 9 percent behind Obama, AND behind Edwards! Renegade Ron Paul almost catching up to McCain and Thompson! These results should keep the blogosphere's collective tongues wagging till Tuesday, when the Granite State speaks.

About Huckabee: I have to say I'm not surprised. I am not remotely a fan of his, but I said in mid-December that he was the Republican to watch out for. I even said he'd be the GOP nominee, but we'll see what happens.

Final, completely frivolous observation: Iowans have a great new pickup line! "Hey baby," they can say. "Wanna caucus?"


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