On Monday, January 24, 2000, I was in Burlington, Iowa for the caucuses. At that time, I was a lowly student intern working for free for Joyce Aboussie and her crew at the Gephardt-in-Congress committee office in Kenrick Plaza (a shopping center that has certainly taken a downward slide in eight short years).
I started that day early, probably about 5 AM, holding an "Al Gore" sign while standing in frigid cold weather on a traffic island outside the Case Corporation factory gates along the Mississippi on the northern edge of town. Later, I did my first ever bit of driving -- about twenty feet, attempting to move one of the rented vans along the curb line. (It could have been worse!) I screeched the brakes, and nobody asked me to do that again! ;-)
Throughout that Monday evening, we rode around town, the mostly volunteer St. Louis canvassing crew (I do believe Chuck Banks was my driver that night), visting and observing various caucus locations. Of course, this being the 2000 election, Al had a pretty decent lock on the Democratic side over Bill Bradley, but the Republican caucuses were where a lot more horse-trading appeared to be happening.
The Gephardt/Aboussie crew had also taken me up to Ft. Madison and Keokuk, Iowa in December 1999, to do some canvassing and generally provide support to the Gore campaign in its earliest days. I remember there was a woman named Summer who was the on-the-ground Gore staffer there... ironic, given the weather was far from summery. We also ran across at least one die-hard Steve Forbes flat-tax backer on those snowy streets, which was kind of curious given that Southeast Iowa has a pretty strongly manufacturing-based labor-union-oriented economy.
Anyway, I predict that tonight, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama will come out on top of their respective caucuses in Iowa tonight.
I'm sure Hillary C. will place a close 2nd on the Democratic side, and it's even possible they will be nearly tied.
But on the Republican side, I think there will be a pretty wide gap between Huckabee and George...er, I mean, Mitt Romney.
I do think it is worth noting Huckabee and Obama are the only two presidential candidates with sponsored links on Google (click below for larger version).