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U.S. Elections: Democratic Hopefuls Heat Up Iowa Caucuses

U.S. Elections: Democratic Hopefuls Heat Up Iowa Caucuses

Posted January. 19, 2004 23:23,   


A day ahead of the Iowa caucuses, while the temperature of the Iowa state capital of Des Moines fell below zero, campaigns by Democratic presidential hopefuls heated up.

When John Kelly showed up at a rally at the Iowa Fairgrounds in the evening, about 1,000 supporters, many of them war veterans and their families, shouted his name and cheered.

Introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the next president of the U.S., Kerry said, "I`m here not just to count down to tomorrow night. I am here to mark the beginning of the end of the Bush presidency.”

Earlier, John Edwards appeared at a rally, whose setting, with broadcasting lights and platforms, assembled a TV talk show. Taking advantage of his photogenic looks, the youngest candidate said, referring to his southern roots, “The South is not George Bush`s backyard. It is my backyard, and I will beat George Bush in my backyard, and you can take it to the bank,"

Marsha Gelina, a 60-year-old Kerry supporter said, “My husband supports Edwards. If Kerry and Edwards becomes running mates, that will be fantastic,” she said.

Dick Gephardt started his day by rallying with a steel workers’ labor union. About 200 Teamsters’ and steel workers’ cheering, shouting slogans, and singing union songs turned the rally into something of a protest.

Gephardt, with 37 years experience in politics, used agitating tones, said, “My mandate is for job creation,” responded by the supporters with a slogan saying, “Send Bush to Mars.”

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who is competing with Kerry over the first place in polls, briefly left the state for Plains, GA, where he received something short of an endorsement from former president Jimmy Carter. Dean’s office in downtown Des Moines was packed with volunteers from across the country. They number about 3,500.

On January 19, about 3,000 volunteers visited voters’ homes, urging their support for Dean, a campaign worker said, with confidence in Dean’s victory.

In a Zogby survey conducted on January 18, a day before the caucuses, Kerry led Dean 24.4 percent to 23.1 percent. In a Gallup poll, Kerry (26 percent) and Edwards (23 percent) are in a tight race.