Huckabee, Obama Win Iowa Caucuses
Huckabee, Obama Win Iowa Caucuses
CBS News Projections Show Romney Second For GOP;
Clinton, Edwards Tight For Dems
DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 3, 2008
(CBS/AP) CBS News projects Mike Huckabee the winner of
the Iowa Republican caucuses and Barack Obama the
winner of the Democratic caucuses.
Mitt Romney is second among Republicans. It's a tight
race between Hillary Clinton with John Edwards for
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Huckabee's win was partly fueled by Republican caucus
attendees' concern with values. Just under half of
attendees chose "shares my values" as the candidate
characteristic that mattered most to them in deciding
their support - compared to a third who wanted a
candidate who says what he believes, and 14% who want
a candidate with experience. Among those who wanted a
candidate that shared their values, nearly half
"Huckabee's victory rocks an already unpredictable GOP
race," said CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn
Ververs. "As the race heads to the New Hampshire
primary just five days from now it's not at all
certain Huckabee has the time to capitalize on his
momentum but John McCain has surged there in recent
weeks, setting up a three-way battle that could be a
must-win for Romney."
Entrance polls of caucus attendees confirm some
expectations for the evening - Clinton starts the
night with strong support among women, and Obama is
showing strength among young attendees.
Iowans rendered their judgments in meetings at 1,781
precincts from Adel to Zwingle, in schools, firehouses
and community centers where the candidates themselves
could not follow.
Iowans were summoned to the evening caucuses in biting
cold but generally clear skies. It was for them to
untangle a knotted race too close to call on either
side, with three Democrats and two Republicans
seemingly in contention for victory and a larger field
hoping for bragging rights - or survival.
The candidates' challenge in the opening contest of
the 2008 election was twofold: to get supporters out
to the meetings and to win over the large numbers of
voters who were stubbornly refusing to make up their
minds until the very end, a quarter of caucus-goers by
one recent estimate.
In the hours before decision time, most candidates
filled their Thursday calendar with still more
speeches and events to give their final say.
Huckabee took his case to a crowd of about 175 at a
Burlington, Iowa, casino - only about half of whom
were committed to him, judging by a show of hands.
Reprising his theme as a common man in a field of
elites, he told the crowd he reminds people of the guy
they work with, not the guy who laid them off. He
dismissed the idea it takes millions of dollars to
win, drawing an unspoken but unmistakable contrast
with the wealthy Romney as well as other big spenders.
"It's about believing in a cause," the former Arkansas
governor said. "It's about believing in some core
values, some convictions about what makes this country
strong, and what can keep it strong and make it even
Huckabee's socially conservative views and populist
approach have propelled him to the front of the pack
in Iowa, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.
But to get his message out to a national audience, he
really needs the positive publicity a win here would
provide because he does not have the resources to
finance a major ground game or television ads.
"Huckabee a month ago would have been the shock of the
year but he's been ahead for a month and right now a
win for him is what people expect," CBS News senior
political correspondent Jeff Greenfield said. "A Mitt
Romney loss puts him in New Hampshire against a
resurgent John McCain, and a loss back to back means
he would have lost to two people who spent less than
his catering. Romney has spent a fortune. That's a
real bad scenario Romney has to avoid."
On the Democratic side, John Edwards switched from his
familiar jeans and blazer to a dark suit and blue tie
as he made his last pitch to middle-class Iowans
worried about health insurance, drug costs and other
pocketbook issues. Rallies in Des Moines, Iowa City
and Cedar Rapids on Thursday were capping his push in
a state he has repeatedly visited for the past four
"Our campaign to stand up for the middle class and
stop corporate greed is unstoppable," the Democrat
told about 200 cheering steelworkers in a brief
morning stop in Des Moines. Polls suggested he was in
an improbably tight race with Clinton and Obama.
"We need you to make calls, talk to your friends,"
Edwards told 100 people in Iowa City, jettisoning his
anti-corporate stump speech in favor of an appeal to
spur turnout. And above all, he said, "Don't be late."
All that excitement means nothing if they don't
actually go to the caucus, reports CBS News
correspondent Chip Reid, so the campaign had more than
a thousand people out today.
Candidates hedged their Iowa bets, declaring "anything
is possible," "it's too close to call" and all now
depended on getting the people who've been cheering
their words to come out to vote and arm-twist
neighbors to do the same.
Romney most explicitly ramped back expectations, at
least for public consumption, saying he'd settle for
second in the opening contest of the 2008 election
season as well as in the New Hampshire primary only
five days after Iowa.
Clinton, in a historic effort to become the first
female president, said: "I feel good, but it depends
on who comes out, who decides to actually put on their
coats, warm up their cars and go to the caucuses."
Obama echoed the sentiment. "Anything is possible at
this point," he said. "We've put a lot into Iowa and
our efforts here. We feel good about what we've done,
but this is the beginning and not the end." Candidates
spoke on the morning talk shows.
The Obama campaign believes the more undecideds and
first-timers turnout tonight, the better for Obama,
reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.
CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod
reports that a high level source in the Clinton
campaign tell CBS News explains the contest between
Clinton and Obama like this: People voting for a
president will choose Hillary, but people voting for a
feeling will choose Obama.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sens. Chris Dodd of
Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware and Rep. Dennis
Kucinich of Ohio also contested the state for the
For Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Rep. Ron
Paul of Texas and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson
were also on the ballot, although their aides made no
claim they were in the running for a first-place
finish. So, too, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York
mayor who largely abandoned the state in the
campaign's final days.
Win or lose, there was little time for rest. New
Hampshire's first-in-the nation primary is set for
next Tuesday, and the campaign quickly accelerates
into a rush of contests culminating in more than two
dozen on Feb. 5.
With President Bush constitutionally barred from
seeking re-election, both parties had wide-open,
Iowa sends 45 delegates to the Democratic National
Convention next summer in Denver and 37 to the GOP
gathering in St. Paul, Minn. But that was hardly the
reason the crowded field of presidential hopefuls
devoted weeks of campaigning, built muscular campaign
organizations and spent millions of dollars on
television advertising in the state.
For three decades, Iowa's caucuses have drawn
presidential hopefuls eager to make a strong first
impression, and this year was no different.
Obama, Clinton and Edwards spent at least $19 million
on television advertising among them, and all three
capped their campaigns with statewide broadcasts on
Wednesday. Romney told supporters in a final daylong
swing around the state he had been in 68 of 99
counties since he began his quest for the White House,
had spent 55 days in Iowa and spoken before 248