It is now only 4 days until Iowa Caucuses get the 2008 presidential contest under way. The most precious commodity that Iowa can bestow upon a candidate is momentum; the result in Iowa can set the tone for the rest of the campaign. So, here is Coffee House’s guide to what the leading candidates want out of Iowa.
John Edwards: The Southern populist needs to win Iowa. If he doesn’t, he might as well drop out of the race.
Barack Obama: Victory in Iowa would make Obama the master of his own destiny in this race. Anything less than first place and the New Hampshire primary on January 8th, will be an absolute must-win for him.
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are running way ahead of the rest of the pack. In recent days, Romney’s attack ads have taken their toll on Huckabee’s support and have seen Romney edge ahead of Huckabee in most polling.
Mike Huckabee: The Christian populist needs to win Iowa if he is to have any serious chance of winning the nomination. If Huckabee can’t win in a caucus dominated by Christian conservatives then he can’t hope to win the whole thing. However, even a second place finish will establish Huckabee as a major figure in the GOP and the most influential Christian conservative in the country.
John McCain: McCain has an interest in the outcome of both the Republican and Democratic races. In the Republican contest, he’d love Huckabee to beat Romney and to come in third himself, gaining more good press and giving him vital momentum heading into New Hampshire. On the Democratic side, a strong Hillary victory would be ideal for him as it would persuade independents in New Hampshire that the Democratic contest is effectively over and push more of them to vote in the Republican primary. For McCain, though, crunch time comes on the eighth: win New Hampshire and he’ll probably be the nominee, if he doesn’t it is probably all over for the Arizona Senator.