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The Ice Storm

Darkness descends on central Iowa during ice storm. (Weather Bonk's Ankeny, Iowa, Weathercam).

DES MOINES -- The campaign for Iowa is only 23 days long, now. But there are some things that can still keep the presidential candidates and their surrogates in political hibernation.

One of them is ice.

That's what descended on the Hawkeye State Tuesday, forcing most of the campaigns to cancel their events here, and allowing the crush of political reporters to hunker down in their hotels.

On the weather maps, a big, pink blob -- signifying an ice storm -- covers much of Iowa. The weather service issued an ice storm warning, particularly for the southeast part of the state. In Des Moines, ice coated the trees Tuesday morning and heavy snow started falling by 11 a.m. Power outages were reported across the city and the state.

The schedule changes from the campaigns were announced quickly.

"Due to poor weather conditions, Senator John Edwards' event in Clinton, Iowa today will be canceled," read an email from the Edwards campaign, which on Monday launched a new bus tour of the state. "At this time, we anticipate other events as scheduled for today will go forward as planned."

As of 11 a.m., that seems a bit optimistic.

From Barack Obama's campaign came this: "The Obama Campaign today announced that Michelle Obama's stops in Iowa City , Sigourney, Fairfield, Mount Pleasant, and Burlington will be postponed due to inclement weather. Details on Michelle Obama's return to Iowa will be announced at a later date."

Former president Bill Clinton canceled the remainder of his events in Iowa, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who had a full day planned in the state, nixed most of his. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was scheduled to go ahead with a meet-and-greet at the Hub skywalk system in downtown Des Moines.

But just because Mother Nature got in the way of the scheduled events doesn't mean the campaigns weren't working to influence Iowa voters. Television spots for the candidates continued unabated Tuesday, as did the automated phone calls, the radio ads, and the direct mail appeals.

Apparently, the old saying about the mailman still applies.

--Michael D. Shear

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 11, 2007; 1:17 PM ET
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