The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

Obama and Huckabee Win in Iowa Vote

Posted by vmsalama on January 4, 2008

and here we go………..

The New York Times 

January 3, 2008

Obama and Huckabee Win in Iowa Vote

Senator Barack Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucuses tonight in a stunning show of strength by a young African-American candidate who was virtually unknown to America three years ago. He defeated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady, and former Senator John Edwards, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2004 by a substantial margin.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee, the folksy former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist preacher, defeated the vastly better funded and organized Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, riding a wave of support by evangelical Christians who said they were drawn to Mr. Huckabee because they believed he shared their values.

The Iowa caucuses drew intense public interest and record turnout on the Democratic side, which featured three compelling candidates waging a fierce campaign that turned on the question of change versus experience. Democratic caucusgoers strongly endorsed Mr. Obama’s vow to change the nature of politics in Washington, decisively preferring his case to Mrs. Clinton’s emphasis on her experience in public life as a senator and the spouse of a president and a governor.

Mr. Romney conceded early in the evening after falling more than 10 percentage points behind Mr. Huckabee. Mr. Romney, who outspent Mr. Huckabee by more than four to one, conceded in an interview on Fox News. “Congratulations on the first round to Mike,” he said. But he described Iowa as the first inning of a “50-inning ballgame” and vowed to stay in it until the end.

Mr. Romney sought to frame his defeat as something of a comeback, saying he had trailed Mr. Huckabee by more than 20 points a few weeks ago. “I’ve been pleased that I’ve been able to make up ground, and I intend to keep making up ground, not just here but across the country,” he said.

The crowd at Huckabee headquarters was ebullient as television news programs called the race. One man shouted “serves you right for the negative ads” as Mr. Romney conceded in an interview on Fox News, and applause went up again when newscasters talked about Mr. Huckabee’s success turning out his evangelical base. Mr. Huckabee is expected to board a chartered jet for New Hamphire at 11:30 this evening — something that is almost an extravagance for his bare-bones campaign.

In a caucus at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines, a record 454 Democrats appeared. The enthusiastic crowd heavily favored Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Jon Muller, 42, the chief financial officer of an education nonprofit group, was one of the Obama backers.

“One of the charges against Iowa is that we don’t really represent the rest of the country,” he said, alluding to the fact that blacks form less than three percent of the caucus participants. “Here’s a chance to make a statement about the inclusiveness of Iowa.”

A sample of early arrivals at the Democratic caucus sites told interviewers that the war in Iraq was the most important issue facing the country, followed closely by the economy and health care. A slim majority of the sample of Democratic caucusgoers said that they were looking for a candidate who could bring about needed change, while only one in five cited experience as the most important factor in deciding whom to support.

Those who cited health care as the top issue tended to support Mrs. Clinton, who also attracted strong support from older voters and women.

Those who decided whom to support in the last three days tended to back former Mr. Edwards.

About a third of Republicans interviewed before they cast their votes cited illegal immigration as the most important issue facing the country, followed by the economy and terrorism. The Republican sample included nearly 60 percent who identified themselves as evangelical Christians, who expressed support for Mr. Huckabee by a two-to-one margin over Mr. Romney.

Those who make up their minds in the past three days tended to support Mr. Romney.

As the first state to express its presidential preferences, Iowa has gained outsized importance even though relatively small numbers of its citizens turn out for the caucuses, which on the Democratic side, in particular, are conducted under arcane rules that reflect intensity of devotion to a candidate as much as sheer numbers of supporters.

Candidates of both parties spent much of the final days of the race trying to minimize expectations. The race on the Democratic side featured three prominent candidates, Senators Obama of Illinois and Clinton and former senator Edwards of North Carolina, each of whom had hopes of winning and fears of coming in third.

As the costliest campaign in the three-decade history of the Iowa caucuses headed to an unpredictable finish, thousands of volunteers and campaign aides from across the country descended on neighborhoods and towns to coax voters to caucus gatherings. Politics dominated the radio and television airwaves, with advertisements back to back from morning until night.

The most sophisticated presidential campaigns that have ever been waged in Iowa — fully engaged for much of the year — ended in a flurry of old-fashioned get-out-the-vote efforts. The Clinton campaign, for example, has enlisted 5,000 drivers to ferry voters to the caucuses, particularly elderly women, who form a critical well of support.

In the end, after a year of political speeches and nearly $35 million in Iowa television advertising, the most important work in the hours before the caucuses was taking place far away from the candidates. Campaigns established telephone hotlines designed to direct voters to their specific precincts.

The results in the Democratic caucuses do not reflect the actual percentage of people who expressed a preference for a particular candidate. Rather, they are the percentage of delegates allocated to each of the candidates based on a complex formula; the Democratic Party does not release the actual number of Democrats who caucus for each candidate.

The Republican results reflect a direct count of the preferences expressed by those who participated in the Republican caucuses.

Mirroring the unusual rush of the nominating calendar — the primary in New Hampshire is a mere five days away — the major candidates planned to pick up as soon as the caucus results were known and flew to New Hampshire to be on the ground for early morning rallies, television appearances and campaign stops. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign plane was scheduled to leave Iowa at midnight.

The one exception was Mr. Giuliani, who largely skipped the Iowa caucuses; he spent the day in Florida — the state where he has chosen to make his stand — and was heading to New Hampshire.

Reporting was contributed by Julie Bosman in Fort Madison, Cate Doty in Waterloo, Patrick Healy in Cedar Rapids, David D. Kirkpatrick in Fort Dodge, Michael Luo in Bettendorf, and Marc Santora in Derry, N.H.

2 Responses to “Obama and Huckabee Win in Iowa Vote”

  1. Barack Obama made history tonight!… http://enewsreference.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/senator-barack-obama/

  2. cstrohmeyer said

    Huckabees huge victory among Evangelical Christians just further alienates me from the Republican Party (for which I am currently a member, although I do not know for how much longer).
    As a Christian myself, I refuse to go along with the one issue politics of Huckabee and Evangelicals. Huckabee is not on par with many core beliefs of Republicans (myself included) and my own experience with Evangelicals both in general and politically has shown them to be very hypocritical “Sunday Christians”.

    Also the Evangelical disdain of Romney simply because of his Mormon faith further disgusts me. This is interesting as Mormon growth in Massachusetts stagnated during his tenure there as Governor, so much for using his power as a governor or president as a bully pulpit.

    I hope that either Thompson or Romney can prove Iowa wrong, if Huckabee wins the nomination, I am NOT voting Republican (which I am not on my local candidates anyway)


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