The campaigning will soon end and the Iowa Caucuses will begin to help determine the direction of the democratic presidentail race. Two of the campaigns have apparently struck an alliance for tonight. Supporters of North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich are being encouraged to support the other candidate if their guy doesn’t reach that all-important 15-percent threshhold on the “first ballot” in tonight’s Caucuses. A candidate who’s under that 15 percent margin within each caucus is declared “unviable” and his supporters must align themselves with another candidate, or remain undecided. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry canceled his events today — he lost his voice after barnstorming the state for the past two weeks. During an interview with Radio Iowa, Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean issued a challenge to the supporters he’s lined up. Dean says for “two years we have built a movement to take back our party from Washington politicians and take back our country and from George Bush. We’ve worked hard. We have hundreds of thousands of people around America who are supporting us. We’ve raised more money than any other democrat. Now, they’ve got to prove on the ground that they can deliver.” Dean says the turning point in the race came last spring when America went to war in Iraq. Dean says he opposed the war when rivals John Kerry and Dick Gephardt and John Edwards all supported it and it gave him an opportunity to speak out Dean says Democrats won’t beat George Bush with a politician from Washington because they “say the right things, but they all poll for it first to make sure it’s o.k. to say it.” The candidate with the most riding on tonight’s outcome is Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt.During an interview with Radio Iowa, Gephardt said he’s excited about what’s going to happen tonight. Gephardt says he’s got a “great army” of 2,000 out-of-state and 3,000 Iowa volunteers who’re working to get supporters to the Caucuses. The one-time leader of Democrats in the U.S. House repeatedly says he has the best chance of any of the candidates to beat George Bush. Gephardt says he “feels a surge out here” and predicts — as he has repeatedly — that he’ll win tonight.Gephardt says he “always knew it would be a tight competitive race.” He says Iowans are tough judges, and were never going to hand the victory to anybody. Gephardt refuses to talk about what might happen to him if he loses tonight.Gephardt says his “assumption is that we’re going to win.” Iowa Democrats will gather in 1,993 precinct meetings tonight, and 13,940 delegates are up for grabs. The measure of who wins tonight will be which candidate lines up the most delegates.
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