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Wag the Blog: Iowa, N.H. and the Right to Be First

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) (and the media throng intent on documenting her every move) toured Iowa over the weekend, while a couple thousand miles to the east former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) hopped around the state of New Hampshire.

While Democrats are adding two states to their early nominating calendar in 2008, Iowa and New Hampshire remain the focal point for aspiring candidates of both parties. The two states, not surprisingly, defend their early voting privileges fiercely, with New Hampshire seemingly poised to move its primary in front of the Democratic caucuses in Nevada.

Advocates for the two states insist that the small size of Iowa and New Hampshire forces politicians to meet and greet potential voters in person rather than via 30-second television commercials -- an experience that is a true test of their candidate skills. Supporters of the primacy of New Hampshire and Iowa insist that voters in their states take their responsibility quite seriously, paying close attention to the minutiae of campaigns and candidates. (It goes without saying that the two states also value the mini economic boom politics brings their way every four years.)

Detractors point out that neither Iowa nor New Hampshire is at all reflective of the country at large -- both have relatively small and not very diverse populations. Critics say they provide no real litmus test for how a candidate will do nationally should they become the nominee.

Today on Wag the Blog The Fix puts the question to you: Should Iowa and New Hampshire retain their historic role of casting the first votes in presidential primaries? Or should other states be given a chance and, if so, how do you decide which states get that unique opportunity?

The comments section below is open for what we hope will be thoughtful debate. With that in mind, The Fix will pluck out a few of the most thoughtful responses and post them separately on the blog later today.

Start wagging!

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 30, 2007; 7:36 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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