By this time tomorrow, it will be history. The 2008 Iowa Caucuses commence tonight for both political parties in 1781 precincts around the state. Democratic Party officials are predicting participation will be at record levels. Republicans, by comparison, are expecting "respectable" turn-out.
Today we bring you the voices of Iowans, not the candidates. On New Year’s Day Anya Robinson was still on the fence. "I still am undecided on who I want to caucus for. I feel like I haven’t gotten enough information about each of the candidates to decide yet, so I’m just kind of trying to figure out in the last couple of days to figure out who I’m going to be caucusing for, but I know I will be caucusing," she said.
Heather Withers says the three front-runners in the Democratic race all have their strengths and it’s been hard to choose. "I heard Obama and I just love his vision. I think he has something of Kennedy, something of Martin Luther King," she says. "Hillary — she has a lot of experience and…I would love to see a woman president."
Jane Neff admits the groundbreaking nature of Clinton’s candidacy is what got her in the Clinton camp. "I have to say it did. I think it’s time in the United States that we recognized what women do, but in the end…that alone could not make the difference," she says. "It had to be the right person for the job."
John Pritchard is backing Barack Obama — because of Obama’s diplomatic skills. "I think weneed that right now based upon our current administration and the hole they’ve dug us in," he says.
But Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson have their supporters here, too. Bill McCallum’s been mulling a second choice in case Richardson doesn’t prove viable in the first round of voting. "(John) Edwards looks fairly good. I was impressed that he gave some fairly direct answers to some questions. You know, Obama’s looking strong now," he says. "(Obama) seems to be really energizing people and that’s what it’s really about."
Turning to the Republicans, Kedron Bardwell caucused for McCain in 2000 and will do so again tonight. "I think he has a better shot at the nomination this time because it’s so wide open," Bardwell says.
Jeremy DeWitt is a Ron Paul supporter. "He stands as a true Republican for what the Republican platform used to be," DeWitt says.
The last time Iowans saw competitive races among Republicans and among Democrats was in the presidential race back in 1988 — and a total of 233,000 Iowans turned out that night for the Caucuses.