Friday, January 04, 2008

Obama O-Bamas the Field in Iowa

Senator Barack Obama, orator, statesman, and friend of Thought Alarm, O-Bama'd Thursday night, rolling to victory in the Iowa Caucus. The victory served a surprising setback for Senator Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. The result also left an uncertain future for John Edwards, who, even with every hair in place, came in 2nd. Most political experts agreed that Clinton could probably weather a loss in Iowa, but Edwards had staked much of his campaign's future on a victory there. On the Republican side Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee defeated Mitt Romney, dealing the former Massachusetts Governor a serious setback.

Mr. Huckabee won with 34.4 percent of the delegate support, after 86 percent of precincts had reported. Mr. Romney had 25.4 percent, former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee had 13.4 percent and Senator John McCain of Arizona had 13.2 percent. On the Democratic side, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Obama had 37.6 percent of the delegate support, Mr. Edwards 29.8 percent and Mrs. Clinton had 29.5 percent. Gov. Bill Richardson (who apparently is still in the race) of New Mexico was fourth, at 2.11 percent.

Mr. Obama's O-Baminating victory has been attributed to his ability to reach out to thousands of first-time caucusgoers, including many independent voters and younger voters. The Senator has shown an ability to draw in not only independents but Republicans, although his victory Thursday night was only among Democratic voters. A record number of Democrats turned out to caucus — more than 239,000, compared with fewer than 125,000 in 2004 — producing scenes of overcrowded firehouses and schools and long lines of people waiting to register their preferences. The huge turn-out — by contrast, 108,000 Republicans caucused on Thursday — demonstrated the extent to which opposition to President Bush has energized Democrats, and served as another warning to Republicans about the problems they face this November in swing states like this.

“They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose,” Mr. Obama said. “But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do.”

He then added: "You've just been O-Bama'd, baby."

The Iowa caucus is a simple affair in which the residents gather at schools, churches, or public libraries, in each of Iowa's 1784 precincts to elect delegates to the state's 99 county conventions. These county conventions then select delegates for both Iowa's Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the national conventions. This is different from the more common primary election used by most other states, in-which residents go to the polls to vote to determine their state's delegates directly. New Hampshire holds the first presidential primary but the Iowa caucus is noteworthy because it is the first major electoral process for nominating the President.

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