A 45-year-old United States Senator who has repeatedly said he’s not interested in running for president in 2008 is set to make a closely-watched debut on Iowa’s political stage this weekend.
Illinois Senator Barak Obama will be the main draw this Sunday for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s annual fall fundraiser in Indianola. Presidential candidates like Al Gore and John Edwards and even former President Bill Clinton have stood in Obama’s place in years past at the Harkin steak fry.
Senator John Kerry is in Indianola tonight, appearing at a fundraiser for Denise O’Brien, the Democrat who’s running for state Ag Secretary. Kerry will be in Iowa City Saturday for tailgating before the Iowa/Iowa State game. Kerry’s not choosing sides in that contest, by the way. But Kerry says he’ll continue to “draw the lines” between the path Democrats want to take and what President Bush has pursued. “We have got to redeploy our forces in order to win the war on terror. The Administration is letting Afghanistan fall backwards and focused in the wrong place,” Kerry says. “Why are there seven times the number of troops in Iraq than in Afghanistan since it’s Afghanistan that saw the launching of the attacks against the United States? That’s where the Taliban and al Qaeda were, not in Iraq.”
The list of other potential presidential candidates of the future who are in Iowa this weekend is long. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh was in Iowa earlier today to speak at the United Auto Workers convention. Former Virginia Senator Mark Warner will speak at Harkin’s steak fry Sunday in what’s being billed as the “pre-program.” Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will be the first speaker on the “main program” according to Harkin staffers.