Presidential hopefuls focus on Iowa - for book tours
On Thursday, Sarah Palin signed copies of her book at a Walmart in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Last week, she was at a Borders in Des Moines. To promote his new novel, last month Newt Gingrich traveled to Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Ames. In March, Mitt Romney made two stops in the state on his book tour.
With a presidential election just under two years away and the GOP’s nominee up for grabs, it’s hard not to read these book tours as campaign events. And politicians with presidential ambitions would be right to spend some time in the Hawkeye State. The Iowa caucuses are the first electoral event on the way to winning a party’s nomination — and they are only 13 months away.
Winning the Iowa caucuses doesn’t mean you’ll win the party’s nomination. Barack Obama, John Kerry and Al Gore all won, for instance, but so have Tom Harkin and Dick Gephardt. In 2008, Mike Huckabee garnered 38 percent of the Republican vote while John McCain only received 13 percent.
However, one thing about the caucuses is a guarantee: The first primary in the nation will be a media circus.
Hugh Winebrenner and Dennis J. Goldford analyze how it all came to be in an updated edition of “The Iowa Precinct Caucuses: The Making of a Media Event” (University of Iowa Press), released this week.
"As a relatively small state with few electoral votes, Iowa should not have the political impact that it does," Winebrenner said. "But that observation has become almost secondary, over time, to the impact that it does have."
On Thursday, Iowans got a small taste of what’s to come. At Palin’s Walmart book signing the press was allowed to take pictures but was told not to ask any questions. CNN reporter Jim Acosta disregarded the request and attempted to ask a question anyway.
“Palin reportedly stood up and addressed Acosta, who was asked to leave,” reported The Des Moines Register.
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