Lizza, Ryan
December 2003
New Republic;12/15/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 24, p22
The author reports on the campaigning efforts of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa. Four presidential aspirants--John Kerry, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, and Howard Dean--are competing to win, place, or show in the state's January 19 Democratic caucuses. Operating on the theory that the only way not to get crushed in New Hampshire on January 27 is not to get crushed in Iowa the week before, Kerry is investing a huge amount of time and money in the state. But there isn't much evidence it's paying off. Watching Kerry, I get the sense that his fall from front-runner to long shot has broken his confidence. Much of Kerry's energy these days is devoted to convincing his audience that voting for Dean--who leads in most recent polls here--would be an historic mistake. Kerry and Dean spend a lot of time hitting red and orange towns, which tend to be larger, more affluent, and more liberal. Gephardt and Edwards, meanwhile, spend more time wooing downscale Democrats at the green and blue end of the scale. More than any of his rivals, Edwards is also trying to define himself as the candidate of optimism. If Kerry is the candidate of traditional liberals and Edwards the candidate of Clinton-style incrementalism, Gephardt--who's currently tied or a close second to Dean in most polls--is the candidate of big, old-fashioned, activist government. All the candidates criticize special interests, and, of course, Gore hit populist notes in 2000, but Dean has begun railing against corporate America in a way no major Democrat has done for decades.


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