After a flurry of pre-Christmas campaigning, there is nary a presidential candidate left in the state today. Eight years ago, the two leading Democratic candidates frantically campaigned in a snow storm two days before Christmas — when toy shopping was a campaign issue.
The 2008 Iowa Caucuses were on January 3, so the candidates were scrambling to capture the attention of Caucus-goers during the holiday season. The Democratic candidates were demanding action from the Bush Administration after disclosure that some toys imported from China had dangerous levels of lead in the paint.
“Going Christmas shopping isn’t just a matter of what toys would bring our children the most joy. It’s also a question of what toys are safe to give them.” That’s Barack Obama, during a news conference in Mason City, Iowa in December of 2007.
During a campaign event eight years ago in Council Bluffs, a young girl asked Hillary Clinton about the issue.
“I don’t think any parent should have to worry about the toys you buy for your children for Christmas. You know, children – we know – are very inquisitive. They put everything in their mouths. They sleep with things,” Clinton said back in 2007. “…We should be able to count on the safety of our toys.”
Clinton called for a halt to all toy imports from China that year. Obama suggested stiffer fines for companies that knowingly import Chinese toys that have lead paint. Back in 2007, nine million Chinese-made toys were subject to recalls in the U.S. because of that lead paint.
China produces about two-thirds of all the toys made in the world and experts estimate about 85 percent of the toys sold in the United States were made in China.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was attracting attention during the 2007 holiday season with a campaign ad that seemed to feature a floating white cross over his right shoulder. The cross was created by lighting on a white bookshelf behind him.
In 2007, Huckabee, Obama and Clinton all returned to Iowa the day after Christmas to resume their dash to the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. This year, Democrat Martin O’Malley will be the first presidential candidate to return to Iowa for an event on Sunday. Next week, Republican candidates Donald Trump, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders all plan to campaign here.