Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is raising the stakes for his campaign in Iowa, as the Iowa Caucuses are the kickoff event of the 2004 presidential campaign. Dean says winning would be tough, especially since competitor Dick Gephardt, a Missouri Congressman, won Iowa’s Caucuses in 1988. But Dean, who raised more money than Gephardt did in the past three months, says he’s not going to concede anything. Dean calls Gephardt the “prohibitive favorite” in Iowa, but Dean says his goal always has to be to compete to win. Recent polls in Iowa show Gephardt, Dean and John Kerry, a Massachusetts Senator, in a virtual dead heat. Dean says coming out in first place on January 19th — the date of the Caucuses — isn’t out of the question. Dean says “it is possible” if he, his staff and supporters work hard enough. Dean, a former Vermont Governor who’s already spent 56 days campaigning in Iowa, today is embarking on a bus tour of 24 counties in the next three weeks. Over the noon-hour, Dean will work alongside supporters who’re volunteering at a food bank in Iowa City before traveling to Sigourney, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa. Dean visited each of Iowa’s 99 counties last year, and will have completed a second visit to each county by this fall. He says jobs will be the central issue of the campaign, as he says that’s the “biggest pain that Iowa’s in.”Dean’s campaigning from the seat of a bicycle on Friday. Dean is riding a portion of the RAGBRAI route, starting in Bloomfield.
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