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So what's a caucus?

So What's a Caucus? It's really TWO answers!

For Republicans, this is really just another primary. GOP voters cast their secret ballot, and whoever get the most votes...is the winner. National convention delegates, are divided up proportionally.

For Democrats, its fairly complicated. People will gather in fire stations, libraries, school gyms, etc. They will divide up by candidates they support. If that candidate does not have 15% of the crowd, they are done! For example, if 100 people attend a precinct caucus, candidate Chris Dodd needs 15 people to stay viable. If he doesn't, he's out...and his delegates are free to vote for anyone else.

This is crucial, because it's a way to get additional votes. Sen Barrack Obama is saying, "Please consider me for your second choice, if I am not your first choice!"

And Rep. Dennis Kucinich has told supporters, to back Obama if Kucinich does not have 15%.

So it's almost like "rank choice" voting in San Francisco! Those "second choice" votes, could put someone "over the top" in a tight race, and right now polls show Sens. Clinton, Obama, and former Sen. Edwards, deadlocked in a 3-way race!

Turnout is crucial tonight, voting begins at 7pm in Iowa. Skies are sunny, with a high temperature of 30 degrees today. Brisk, but no rain or snow!

It's estimated that 40% of voters may be "independents"....so this is wide open in both parties!

Get ready for an Iowa free-for-all!

Mark

Campaign Trail; Bitter Cold in Iowa

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Greetings from Des Moines! It's 15 degrees. I have no gloves, hat or scarf! You'd think a kid who grew up in Wisconsin would know better!

Anyway, its the day before the Caucuses and Iowa is all a buzz over politics!

First stop, a place called "Coffee and Comics" a small eclectic coffee show near the airport. A non-Starbucks. A little neighborhood joint you might find in the Haight. In any case, the sign on the door says they offer "a cup o' Kryptonite!" The coffee is good, and the comic book collection cool. In case I miss the Bay Area too much, there is a wine store next door, offering Napa Valley's finest.

"Coffee and Comics" is definately unqiue. The owner Matt, is backing Democrat Chris Dodd for President. His friend is backing rebel Republican Ron Paul. They've even hosted Chris Dodd in the coffee shop for a rally. I tell them they must be two of the "lonliest guys in Iowa." They laugh and agree! Still they are backing their candidates on principle, instead of some crazy "poll" which is admirable.

Remember "Boy George and Culture Club?" Their song "Church of the Poison Mind" is playing on the radio. It followed "Rockin' America" by...a band I forgot. In any case, I make no editorial here. THEY pick the music, not me! Anyway, it must be satellite radio, since there are NO political ads, unlike my car radio which is bombarding me with last minute candidate pleas.

Speaking or music, John "Cougar" Mellancamp is playing at a John Edwards rally tonight, and I get to go...free! Mellancamp hails from Indiana...so his Midwest roots "might" help Edwards, though celebrity endorsements rarely mean much at the polls. We'll see!

I'll check back later...time to find a store for those hats, mittens and scarf! BBBBBBBBrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

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