RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
In this part of the program, we travel to the important early primary and caucus state - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina - to give us an update on where these key contests stand and what's at stake. We begin with NPR's Don Gonyea in Iowa.
DON GONYEA: For Democrats, the Iowa race is much closer than in national polls, which give Hillary Clinton a commanding lead over Barack Obama, with John Edwards even further back. In Iowa, it's up for grabs. It's Edwards, who has invested more time and money in Iowa than any other state, who's under the most pressure here. He needs to do well. Yesterday, in Iowa city, Edwards continued his attacks on Clinton, arguing that on the topic of Iran, she has not learned the lessons of Iraq and has not been consistent. He cited her voted for an amendment labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
JOHN EDWARDS: Senator Clinton is voting like a hawk in Washington and talking like a dove in Iowa and New Hampshire.
GONYEA: Hillary Clinton was in the small town of Oelwein yesterday. Sixty-two-year-old Clinton supporter Joan Fallen(ph) says the attacks should be no surprise.
JOAN FALLEN: Well, of course she's going to be attacked because she's the frontrunner.
GONYEA: Fallen also says Clinton's more centrist positions make her more electable. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney is still the strong favorite here. He too has poured a lot of money and time into his Iowa campaign. He's doing well among social conservatives. One Republican to keep an eye on may be former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who has impressed observers with his debate performances and who has made the most dramatic increases in the polls.
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