About a thousand people packed an auditorium at Cornell College in Mount Vernon last night (Thursday) to hear insights of presidential politicking from George Stephanopoulos. The A.B.C. News political analyst and former Clinton White House advisor says Iowa played a very key role in the success of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who Stephanopoulos says has the nomination "sewn up."

"But for that really stunning win in the Iowa Caucuses, way back in January, seems like a million years ago, we all started our year here, (Obama) wouldn’t be where his is today," he says. "It’s there where we started to see the way he was inspiring young voters, especially, the way he got the turnout of young voters up in the state of Iowa so it was equal to the turnout of 65-and-overs for the first time ever, was a big sign." Stephanopoulos says Iowa’s continued to prove itself as a "battleground state" and he predicts it’ll again be a must-win for Democrats — and Republicans.

"Even John McCain, this isn’t his best state by any means, realized that he had to come back here and make a little bit of a play in the final days and Rudy Giuliani made the big mistake of just ignoring (Iowa)," he says. "You can’t ignore Iowa, and boy, this is really just the beginning. Iowa is going to be getting an awful lot of attention between now and November."

Stephanopoulos says Obama’s victory in the Iowa Caucuses should help preserve the state’s lead role in the nomination process, adding, the Illinois senator’s Caucus-night speech in Des Moines may have been the candidate’s best of the campaign. He says the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is over, though Obama’s rival Hillary Clinton may continue on for another couple of weeks.

Stephanopoulos says: "Clearly, it appears that both she and her campaign believe she still some kind of a chance to win, even though I think it’s, at this point, a strategy that I would label the Anything Can Happen Strategy, it’s really just sort of waiting to see if something happens to Barack Obama that drives him from the race." While he acknowledges an Obama-Clinton ticket would be powerful, he doubts it will happen due to "raw feelings on both sides." Stephanopoulos was in Mount Vernon as part of Cornell College’s endowment lecture series.