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January 19, 2004

BYTE BACK Iowa Caucus Report

Kerry? There's a surprise. He's a good person. I felt a twinge when I heard he had the support of firefighters, but I never thought this result.

Kerry - 38
Edwards - 33
Dean - 18
Gephardt 11
Kucinich - 1

The biggest surprise of the night for me - and many people - is the poor showing of Dick Gephardt. I bought into the idea that he was loved out there. After all he won in 1988, though of course that was a long time ago.

(PS - who owned the eyes and ears, TV or WWW? I think TV had it by a landslide)

Dick Gephardt is not going to New Hampshire as planned. If he's wise he'll drop out of the race as has been reported by one DG staffer already tonight (20:06 Central Time / AZ winter time).

Second surprise - Dean's poor showing. Really hard to explain, though many many many many people will make the attempt. I won't - quite, yet.

Third suprise of course was Edwards rise and it actually gives me hope that a "good guy" can win. I'm glad he didn't flame out because he he's the one who says "hope" most convincingly.

But through all this remind yourself that George H W Bush came in third in Iowa and Bob Dole came first.

Remnd yourself that in 1980 George HW Bush beat Reagan in Iowa.

I distinctly remember (because I was one of them) around the time Kerry's staff was all dropping like flies the Blogopundits were kicking his campaign to the curb.

He wasn't connecting (and come to mention it I really don't know his postions on almost anything but the for-the-war, just-not-this-war stance) and he was speaking like a Senator, not like "one of us."

He and Edwards have renergized their campaigns; they have made NH voters take a second look. They have made me take a second look - especially at Edwards, who I wasn't supporting because his % seemed like loser numbers.

This is Iowa, which has not become a bellweather campaign - a do or die. If it was, Clark and Leiberman would have been here.

If Gephardt gets such low numbers, Lieberman is going to have Kucinich numbers in New Hampshire.

General Caucus Observation - The iowa caucuses are politics in their rawest form and in all senses of the word "politic." The complexity of them as I watched C-Span and CNN (no one else I saw tried to explain them or really show the behind the scenes) gave me a headache. No, really.

And I believe I understood them before the day. Still, the formula and the number of delegates and the delegate representation equivelant got my head in a spin.

Fox trotted out Susan Estrich for gawd's sake and the usual Fred Barnes and Kristol (Seemed tired. They seemed most happy to push the Anyone But Dean agenda).

Larry King had Robert Dole and Bob Woodward who at least have on-the-ground experience in this type of thing. Dole was not ungenerous with his advice for the candidates - all of whom (except Gephardt) came on.

Entrance polls were used, which since Atrios mocked them earlier I have to believe he already knew they would be. It was over quicker than most people thought.

Edwards seemed to be the second choice for both Gephardt and Kucinich supporters. At one point on C-SPAN I heard Gephardt supporters who were walking toward an Edward group mention, "We have orders to join with you."

Previous Iowa Caucus results.

Now and only now - let's see what the rest of you have to say.

UPDATE 21:04 If Dean's supporters are a bunch of young 'uns they will be disillusioned quickly and drop away. Of course, NH is acyiually about votes. CNN reported - before any election results were in - that aobut 20 percent of Iowa Democrats come to the caucuses, while in NH some 70 percent of registered Demorats participate.

Oliver Willis has a good real time report and seems quicker than I to write off Dean (though he doesn't quite.). He also agrees that Tv ruled the night.

Daily Kos, especially on-the-ground poster Tom Shaller was on top of things (scroll down.)