Political Landscape Looks Murky in Iowa The final weekend before the Iowa Caucuses has passed and the races in both parties look as murky as ever. NPR's Don Gonyea reviews the last-minute moves by the major figures in both parties as well as the figures who still might surprise.
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Political Landscape Looks Murky in Iowa

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Political Landscape Looks Murky in Iowa

Political Landscape Looks Murky in Iowa

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

Now, to the U.S. presidential election. This week, Iowa holds its caucuses, the first real test in the 2008 race. And today, Iowa is far too close to call on either the Republican or Democratic side.

NPR's Don Gonyea checked in from Des Moines.

DON GONYEA: It's the final four days before the January 3rd caucuses. And the campaigns, especially those with realistic hopes of winning here, are working hard to win over the undecided.

In the past two weeks, Mike Huckabee emerged as a surprised Republican front-runner jumping ahead of Mitt Romney but their race seems to have narrowed again. Romney is even ahead in a new Mason-Dixon poll, though, by a very small margin. Romney's gains come thanks to negative ads targeting Huckabee's record as Arkansas governor.

(Soundbite of political ad)

Unidentified Man: Romney got tough on drugs like meth. He never pardoned a single criminal. And Mike Huckabee? He granted 1,033 pardons and commutations, including…

GONYEA: Huckabee responded today in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he was questioned by Tim Russert.

(Soundbite of show, "Meet the Press")

Mr. TIM RUSSERT (Host, "Meet the Press"): But has Mitt Romney said anything that's untrue about you?

Mr. MIKE HUCKABEE (Former Republican Governor, Arkansas; Presidential Candidate): How long do we have on the program today?

GONYEA: On the Democratic side, in poll after poll in Iowa, Hillary Clinton is locked in a statistical three-way tie with Barack Obama and John Edwards. She was on ABC News' "This Week" program today. There, she talked about her foreign policy experience, both as a senator and as first lady. And she answered questions about her husband, the former president, and said in her administration, Bill Clinton will not be attending National Security Council briefings.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): No. That wouldn't be appropriate. He will not have a formal official role. But just as presidents rely on wives, husbands, friends of long years, he will be my close confidante and adviser.

GONYEA: Meanwhile, both Obama and Edwards are traveling the state today, each saying he is the kind of candidate who would bring a fresh approach to governing, the kind of change, they say, Senator Clinton cannot bring.

Don Gonyea, NPR News, Des Moines.

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