Several thousand political activists will gather tonight in church basements, school lunchrooms and other community corners for the Iowa Republican and Democrat Party caucuses. A videotaped greeting from President George W. Bush will be played at the Republican gatherings.Iowa Republican Party chairman Chuck Larson says it’s unusual to get a presidential greeting, and concedes Bush’s intent is to lay the groundwork for his re-election in 2004. Larson says tonight’s event is a party-building exercise. Larson expects at least 30-thousand republicans to turn out. Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson Sara Leonard expects about 25-thousand democrats to show up. She calls them a chance to get together with friends and neighbors to talk about the party’s platform.Leonard says rather than videos, Iowa’s top democrats have sent letters to each precinct.In his videotaped remarks, Bush says the state of the Republican Party has “never been stronger.” Bush reviews some of the themes of his recent “State of the Union” message, then concludes with a little cheerleading, urging the party faithful to keep recruiting new members and new voters. There are 2003 precincts in Iowa, and there will be a democrat AND a republican party meeting in each of those precincts.
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