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January 2nd, 2008
02:19 PM ET

Relevance of Iowa and New Hampshire?

ALT TEXT

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iowa and New Hampshire go along pretty much unnoticed most of the time, but every four years they get even. They are where the presidential first pitch is thrown out.

Some people argue that this is no way to pick a president, that the current system gives a few hundred thousand voters in these two early states way too much influence. At least one expert calls the system "foolish" and "outdated."

"The Columbus Dispatch" suggests Ohio would be a better starting place because it better represents the country demographically, economically and politically. Tell you what, when you fix your voting machines, we'll talk.

The McClatchy newspapers say Iowa is a foreign place to many Americans:

"Why should such a tiny state get such a big say in picking the president?... A state where the people are as white as the snow-covered landscape, devoid of the minorities who are changing the country's complexion. A place where people graduate from school in record proportion, and live long, healthy lives."

The article goes on to suggest that Iowa, which has the highest literacy rate in the nation, might be as good a place as any to start. It's small enough that candidates can meet people face-to-face. And, even though Iowa isn't representative of the rest of country, no other single state probably is either.

Here’s my question to you:
Are Iowa and New Hampshire the right places to start the presidential election process?

To see the Cafferty File video click here

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Jayne from New Hampshire writes:
Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. I live in New Hampshire and we are pestered to death by pollsters, push pollers, leaflets, brochures, campaigns, fundraisers and news people. Sure, it's fun to see the candidates up close and personal and we take the job of primary voter very seriously, but I wouldn't mind sharing the experience. P.S. Be sure to invest in caller I.D.

Thomas from South Carolina writes:
I think the current primary system is completely broken. We should have all states vote on the same day. That way the outcome would be much less manufactured and wouldn't be influenced by just a couple states. These days, with so much national media and the internet, the candidates don't need to physically campaign everywhere anyway. Ron Paul didn't have to shake my hand to get my vote.

Matt from Bryant, Wisconsin writes:
I don't know if they are the two best states to hold the primaries in, but I am sure as hell happy that they aren't holding them here.

Bob from San Jose, California writes
Iowa is ideal! It's small enough so candidates must face you eye-to-eye. Iowans are genuine souls who care deeply about values and common sense. As a black man, I was proud to live there once and I can't wait to know what Iowans think tomorrow.

G. writes:
About 6% of registered voters participate in the Iowa caucuses. Those few people in a little white farming state, hardly representative of the U.S. as a whole, should not be able to make such an impact on the election process. We should dispense with tradition, especially that of caucusing, and Iowa should have to get in line and have a primary the way most other states do it.

Hugh from Vero Beach, Florida writes:
No. I believe they should start in Hawaii and Alaska. Put the candidates on the road early...really test their endurance, I say. Plus, they'll be in time zones where we wouldn't have to watch or hear them 24/7.


Filed under: Iowa • New Hampshire
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. ROSE M

    absolutely not. we should have a national primary. the system now is just a tool for the pundits and media so called strategists to make themselves revelant. FOR EXAMPLE.. it is very apparent that nbc ,and msnbc has been on a boost obama crusade for some time. they pick and choose the poll that verifies their point of view.
    if it still is a necessity for iowa and new hampshire to be first.. then it should be held like every other state's primary where everyone gets to vote once by ballot or absentee ballot.at least let every candidate have an even break towards winning.the way it stands only the ones the media selects are the ones that get the exposure breaks.

    January 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  2. Christian Blake

    Hell no! the only relavance is huckabee acting reverent. Sorry ,did I sound like the ryming reverend jesse jackson ,(No caps for these phoneys) We need one national primary in this country, one day to wrap it up or should I say wipe it up?
    Christian Blake, a rare conservative and patriot from my native state of Vermont!

    January 2, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  3. James

    Absolutely not. How can any one or two states out of 50 have such an impact on who gets the nomination? But then I guess it's no different than an average census of both legal citizens and illegal aliens determining how many representatives one state has. Land of the free, indeed!

    January 2, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Rich, McKinney Texas

    I suppose it has to start somewhere. I don't think anyone outside of Iowa or New Hampshire really cares however. I like to eat corn but I don't care too much about the farmer in Iowa growing it nor does he care about me. I also don't think the people of Iowa or New Hampshire can speak for the people in the other 48 states. Voting is a personal choice for what ever reason and Iowa and New Hampshire certainly do not have a patent on personal choice.

    January 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  5. Patricia Butler, Wheeling, WV

    Does it really matter anymore? Those states are supposed to represent a good indication of who the rest of the country is largely supporting, but the media is doing everything possible to highlight specific candidates, leaving others in the dark and diminishing the public's knowledge and, therefore, support of them; Fox and ABC are cutting viable candidates from being heard in upcoming debates. The amount of money being spent is so absolutely absurd as to be nothing less than insanity.
    Congress needs to put a cap on spending for political office. If media are covering candidates, they need to cover ALL CANDIDATES, not select which ones they think the people want to hear. Democracy is going to hell in a hand basket in this country, and George Bush is carrying the basket!
    By the way, I've read your book; scary, because it's so true! Nice work, Jack.

    January 2, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  6. Ed

    Iowa and New Hampshire are a better place to start than Mexico and Canada. Many of the candidates may disagree since they belong to the organization which spawned the ideas North American Union, Globalism and One world government. Those members of the council on foreign relations.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  7. Terry OFlaherty

    Jack
    I dont believe that Iowa and New Hampshire are a good place to start, why not New York, California and ILL. That would give us a cross section of the country.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  8. Patricia Butler, Wheeling, WV

    It makes for great play, but not realistic, and John Edwards, AKA The Whiner (my personal nickname for him), knows it. Bush is not going to change his stance on the war, and the new President will have to make sound judgments based on the stability of Iraq at that time. One can only hope that we have a President who is capable of making sound, practical judgments after Bush's major bungling of all U.S. assets. I agree that we need to leave Iraq's affairs to Iraq and must leave as soon as possible without putting any troops and Iraqi citizens' lives at more risk. The new President, if a Democrat, will probably use 2009 mainly to coordinate redeployment of our troops who will probably end up in Afghanistan.
    I am a boomer, and I've never been as scared as I am now for the security of this country and its financial state as a result of the war, corporate greed and illegal aliens and their supporters corrupting the legal system. Our meddling in Iraq has to come to an end. The next President is going to have to dig us out of a very deep hole that Bush and corporate America so willingly has tried to bury all U.S. citizens in, except for the very rich who are, of course, above all this and are supervising the digging.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  9. Gypsy

    About 6% of registered voters participate in the Iowa caucuses. Those few people in a little white farming state, hardly representative of the U.S. as a whole, should not be able to make such an impact on the election process. We should dispense with tradition–especially that of caucusing–and Iowa should have to get in line and have a primary the way most other states do it.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  10. Scott

    Jack, why not have one day for everyone, like the general election, hell while were at it, make it where the race cant start more than 50 days from the set national date, this allows for one day for each state to put up with the canidates.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  11. Jim Jensen

    Letting a few thousand voters, in Iowa and New Hampshire, pick the Presidential candidates for all of us is really a stupid idea whose time should have never come. No one really benefits from this except the media; who just loves it. To be completely fair, everyone should vote on the same day and then the people, not the political parties or the media, would pick the top candidates to run against each other in the general election. The top candidates, in each party, would run for President and the candidates with the second most votes would run for Vice-President. It's fair, it's simple, its totally democratic and it makes perfect sense. That's probably why it will never happen.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Thomas, SC

    I think the current primary system is completely broken. We should have all states vote on the same day. That way the outcome would be much less manufactured and wouldn't be influenced by just a couple states. These days, with so much national media and the internet, the candidates don't need to physically campaign everywhere anyway. Ron Paul didn't have to shake my hand to get my vote.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Jayne

    Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. I live in New Hampshire and we are pestered to death by pollsters, push pollers, leaflets, brochures, campaigns, fund raisers and news people. Sure, it's fun to see the candidates up close and personal and we take the job of primary voter very seriously, but I wouldn't mind sharing the experience. P.S. Be sure to invest in caller I.D.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Ed Reed

    My first reaction is that it is unfair; however, President Bush did not win either Iowa or New Hampshire in 2000. Maybe they are more literate and intelligent than the rest of the country.

    January 2, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  15. Joe

    No. They should start the presidential election process in Missouri where I am.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  16. michael in dc

    Iowa & NH aren't representative of the diversity in our country.

    They're good, solid people, of course, but we should go to states with more African-Americans, Latinos, and immigrants.

    California makes up 25% of our population... just a thought...

    January 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  17. Tim

    Jack,
    If you believe the idea that Iowa and New Hampshire control or lead what will happen is true, then you must be drinking some of the infamous kool aid. Nearly a year ago the media started telling us and steering us in the direction of who they wanted to win. The election is simply the American Puppets heading out to do the big medias bidding in getting their next Manchurian Candidate out to assassinate our Constitution.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Aaron

    Iowa and New Hampshire isn't the correct place to start, as an Illinois resident during most primary presidential elections my vote doesn't even count because by the time we vote in Illinois, the election has already been decided which candidates will be running for president in November. Why not have 1 Super Tuesday for the whole country.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  19. WindyCityWoman

    I agree with Gypsy:

    Gypsy January 2nd, 2008 3:30 pm ET

    About 6% of registered voters participate in the Iowa caucuses. Those few people in a little white farming state, hardly representative of the U.S. as a whole, should not be able to make such an impact on the election process. We should dispense with tradition–especially that of caucusing–and Iowa should have to get in line and have a primary the way most other states do it.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  20. Austin W

    Yes, IA and NH give small candidates a chance to gain steam that otherwise would have been swallowed if we had a national primary or first in the nation California or Ohio primary.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  21. Neal Anderthal

    Iowa and and New Hamster are the White (I mean) the right places to start the the election......they are so representative of Amerikey

    January 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  22. Pam

    Why isn't it possible to have a National Primary Day on which voters in all states could participate? That would spread around both the good and bad aspects of the election process - we'd all get the annoying pollsters, push pollers, etc., but we'd also all get to see the candidates more. We don't get to see much of the national candidates here in Washington state; it would be great if everyone felt like they were more involved in the process.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  23. Mike

    I won't make my choice by who wins Iowa or New Hampshire. You have to begin somewhere, does it matter where? Let's keep it this way, I think it's great. Though I live in neither of those states, I feel the candidates addressing issues help me make my choice come primary time in WA.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  24. jackson white

    i believe states like california, new york, texas, maryland and even michigan represent the country in terms of race, gender and economic class not states like iowa and newhampshire.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  25. Carol Martin

    Why not Iowa. The fact that my "home" state has the highest literacy rate should tell you something!! I am very proud of growing up in Cedar Rapids Iowa with a wonderful education. This is the heart of America and the people who don't know Iowa or don't even care to know the state, are missing out on something great. I learned phonics in school, how to diagram a sentence and respect for people who were different colors and those that worked in factories. I'm very proud of being brought up in eastern Iowa and have thought many times about moving back to a place that really cares about each other!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  26. Tom Bulger

    I can't answer about Iowa, but New Hampshire's Bob and Jeanette Dunfey sent me a picture of them hugging O'Bama. I'd have to say New Hampshire looks pretty sensible wouldn't you?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  27. Keith

    I don't believe that they should lead off the election process because it is outdated. The country is more diverse across many lines now. The current system is just representative of how diversity is intolerable in the election process.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  28. Bruce Marshall

    No Jack I think we should have everyone vote on the same day so we can get it over with. They can spread the ads out so we can see some normal TV.
    And let's tell the truth, everyone knows who they are voting for and if they don't maybe they should not be voting. Saying you don't know get you on TV.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  29. David A. Morse

    Jack:

    No Way! Iowa and New Hampshire have Too Much influence in the Election of President. The people there are NOT typical of Americans nationally. But, Short of a National Primary, some state must be first.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  30. George in Boston

    Jack, the primary process should be declared unconstitutional because it disenfranchises voters. Back in 2000 I supported John McCain. My right to ever cast a vote for him was taken away because other voters made the decision for me. He was out of the picture before it was my state's turn to hold a primary. That's not exactly democracy in action.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  31. Ted

    I think they should start in Florida and Ohio and get the "unusual circumstances" out of the way and buried before they cause another 8 years of disaster. I'm hoping too that Giuliani will like Florida so much he will retire there.... immediately.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  32. John

    It needs some work, but it's better than Fox News deciding which canidates we can choose from.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  33. Addison

    Jack, If we do not start with small states such as Iowa and New Hampshire presidential politics will be dominated by sound-bytes and prime-time television commercials where millions of personal dollars are a necessary ante for anyone to run for president of the United States. It would then be time to say good-bye to the days where a no-name governor or public servant can run for president and to say hello to even more corporate influence.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  34. TAPayne

    It is entirely appropriate for the candidates to begin in Iowa and New Hampshire, as while they are not immune, they are certainly more resistant to the "BIG LIE" than some other states, that is why certain political interests are trying to push other states to the forefront in an attempt to diminish the traditional vetting of candidates.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  35. Jon Beaupain

    Jack, I was born and raised in Iowa but I now live in Arizona. I have ran and organized the local caucus in Iowa during the 2000 election. I was also the Gore captain of my precint for the Caucus. I can tell you that it is the most rediculous way of electing a president there is. It should not be relevant because of all the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing that goes one. How democratic is it to tell a person that they can only vote at 7 pm in the evening. How democratic is it to tell an older person in a nursing home that can not make it to the caucus that they are not allowed to vote absentee or for that matter a person that happens to work the second shift. When I lived in Iowa I use to have to take vacation time from my employer to vote in the Caucuses. It is such a small percentage of Iowans that go that I do not see how this system is allowed to still go. It is very irrelevant as it does not even represent Iowans.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  36. Mensah Koduah

    Jack,
    Iowa and New Hampshire should not have much say than the rest of the states but Washington talking heads like Chris Matthews and Tim Russert who desperately want Obama to win so badly that they have given him a free pass and thus have made this a big deal for the whole country. If they criticize Obama like they do with Hillary, we will not be talking about this Obama boy everyday.
    The media has made these two states important for the candidates.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  37. Darius from Wisconsin

    Wow, of course Iowa and New Hampshire are not the places that make up the current demographic of Our country. We should definitly decide Our front-runners as a whole instead of leaving it to an area which does not represent many African americans, Hispanics, Asians, and many other backgrounds that also matter and have a voice. This question is a no brainer, this is 2008 , the year that everyone needs to wake up and come together as a whole for the USA.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  38. jonathan

    The only reason why Iowa and New Hampshire are important is because the press makes them important. Candidates get press coverage there. The "retail politics" idea is a canard, since you don't have that in any other state.

    There's no valid reason to put so much importance on these states. The major states like California, Texas, New York should are more representative of the country and would make better choices, or perhaps the swing states like Florida and Ohio.

    Switch to a national primary and be done with it.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  39. Dunne (North Carolina)

    Jack,

    You and I are not racists or bigots. But the truth is Iowa and New Hampshire are very white and unfettered by enormous disproportion of regional ethnic and non-legal population. They probable match the national diversity percentages better than New York, California or Illinois. Therefore the indicators, polls and caucuses may ring truer to the beat of America at large. As you can already see the bright people of Iowa and NH are not persuaded easily to adopt the forecasters prediction of Clinton-Guiliani. Thank God for Iowa because the "Field of Dreams" is NOT Clinton-Guiliani!!!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  40. Deanna K

    I had to laugh at the comment about Ohio needing to fix the voting machines! I live here in Ohio and I wholeheartedly agree. However, I also think that Ohio does seem to be a more appropriate representation of the overall country. What if Ohio did fix its voting process....would it be too large for the candidates to cover? Too many people? I would be interested to see what would change in the way the candidates present themselves given a different atmosphere.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  41. shannon

    Are Iowa and New Hampshire the right places to start the presidential election process?

    NO!

    first it is time each and every state have the election process start at the same day. right now, it's follow the leader like sheep. if all states did it on the same day , there would be no "leaders" of the process and the voters would be desiding on what was presented to them before the voting and not invluenced by what had happened in another state. also, funds for the canidates should be split evenly amoung all and each given equal time on air to present their views. buying the position because of who has the most to spend is not an "equal oppertunity" election.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  42. Penny from California

    Are system with voting is so off base. Every State should be able to vote on the same day. I have watched every debate on both sides, read the daily papers, check online Political activities for the past year. This is ridiculous of the way the voting process takes place. Let's all vote the same day, and get on with our lives. I have already made my decision as to which candidate would be best and positive to our American people.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  43. andyk

    One key problem is that Iowa's caucus process is a posterchild for what is wrong with the voting process itself. Huge number of Iowa voters are disenfranchised by a lousy process. I am amazed that candidates who are committed to "make every vote count" then stand for such a failed process. So in effect Iowa caucuses generate a super minority vote for a major impact. Something is wrong there. New Hampshire is OK.

    Now lets do a bit of counting $$$s/primary vote. It must be in thousands/vote. It is simply crazy.
    Andy K

    January 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  44. TAPayne

    It is entirely appropriate for the candidates to begin in Iowa and New Hampshire, as while they are not immune, they are certainly more resistant to the “BIG LIE” than some other states, that is why certain political interests are trying to push other states to the forefront in an attempt to diminish the traditional vetting of candidates.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  45. dc

    In answer to your question about Iowa:

    Iowa is what America was...literate, well rounded and stable.......with that in mind,
    ...I think they should be the ONLY state involved in the electing of a President..
    DC

    January 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  46. Kevin

    Iowa and New Hampshire lucked out.

    I believe that Illinois would be a better state to start the Presidential Election process. Illinois has a Major City (Chicago) which can address people from all soco-economic statuses with real problems; a huge farming industries vital to U.S. stability; a manufacturing base negatively affected by NAFTA; illegal immigration issues( not just from Mexico); cities like Rockford on our state's poverty warning list; and many many rural areas filled with Billionares, Millionares and no-ares.

    Illinois is a diverse state which can represent the majority of the nation's issues. Illinois is a challenge which breeds the best public servants. Come to the Land f Lincoln (and Obama)... we wll represent the United States well.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  47. Dale Hill

    Florida and Ohio state. Sorry, dudes, Sassie and I will be interrupted by the Fiesta Bowl. I'm working on the dip right now.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  48. Lee Jolliffe

    Iowa is less white than you think. We have numerous immigrant groups, from Hispanics to Bosnians to Africa's "Lost Boys". And two Pakistanis from Bhutto's opposition party are volunteering for Hillary in my precinct in Des Moines.

    I don't always agree with my fellow Iowans, but I will say that we take the responsibility of going first very seriously.

    Last election cycle, John Kerry told about campaigning in Iowa with an earlier Democratic candidate. Shaking someone's hand, the candidate asked, "Sir, can I count on your support?"

    And the Iowan answered, "I don't know yet. So far I've only seen you three times."

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  49. WindyCityWoman

    I also agree with Jim Jensen January 2nd, 2008 3:35 pm ET .. this is so simple, it's scary!

    Frankly, I'm weary of the restrictions of the 2-party system.

    The Republicans get and stay in until they mess up, and then we turn around the do the same with the Democrats.

    The definition of insanity anyone? The system requires fixing.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  50. Chris

    As an Iowa resident I can agree that the state is made up of mostly white citizens, however, that doesn't mean that all diversity is absent as some are saying. Diversity doesn't only come in the form of race but applies to age, disability, sexual orientation, etc. Additionally, while the state is small compared to many states (such as Illinois, New York, California) it is near the middle when ranked among all states. The people who caucus are very dedicated to the process and get to know the canidates on a personal level. If we elminated the current system then this would not be possible. Think about the final nomination choosen for each party. How many that eventually vote get to shake his/her hand and ask them questions directly? Not many – but this is one of the great assets of the current system. So in the end – while maybe not perfect – it works.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  51. Kevin

    It seems that every four years we ask ourselves this question. The primary system is clearly broken. The demography of states like Iowa and New Hampshire are barely reflective of the United States. They gave us John Kerry in 2004! Come on, people! Either make it a national primary, where all registered voters have their voice counted, or make the primaries in more demographically and economically diverse states, like Illinois, California, New York, etc...

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  52. George in Georgia

    Jack, If we can't count on Iowa and N.H., among the most educated states, to start off our election process, who can we trust – the least educated?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  53. Edward Lynn

    Jack, I am a new Iowan who moved to the state just over two years ago. I will be caucusing (for Obama) for the first time this year. I think this is a pretty good place to do it, frankly. I feel priveleged to have the opportunity. I probably would have thought otherwise two years ago, though. But after actually coming here, I now know Iowa is more racially integrated than most people think, and Iowans are generally smart, stay well informed, and care. So I think it's about the best place.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  54. Claire

    The issue is not whether the first 2 states should be Iowa and New Hampshire, but rather why do you have primaries on different dates. Having a single date can achieve fairness without offending any state. As a foreigner, I just don't get your democracy process sometimes. Iowa caucus is particularly bizzar and so "kindergarden".

    January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  55. Matt Savage

    How can Iowa nor New Hampshire be representative of my personal view when I don't even know what it is yet? Try this - do away with the Electoral College and determine a way to accurately count every single American's vote come November. That would require candidates to make their cases consistently and systematically to the entire country, not just a state or two at a time. Then a Texan like me might actually be able to help restore some sanity to the Presidency.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  56. Dave

    Jack;

    If our concerns were centered around who'd likely be 'best' rather than who might win, it wouldn't matter who goes first. We (voters, non-voters, candidates, handlers, volunteers, etc) should take these events far more seriously than we do.

    To a great extent the primaries/caucus are treated and handled like play-off games leading to the superbowl.

    Usually only the winner is the winner – the rest of us get to go out in the parking lot to clean up the mess left by our tail-gate party.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  57. Donald, Butte Montana

    Neither of these states are a microcosm of this country.

    Their continued 'first caucus/primary' in the Nation continues to be overstated by both the press and the two states. The only winners in these two states are not any of the candidates - it is the media outlets!!! Look at the millions of dollars pumped into these states for air-time and mailings.

    I'm sick and tired of seeing that that George Bush look-alike with his smirking smile lying and changing his positions - Romney and Guiliani

    I'm sick and tired of seeing Hucklebery mentioned religion in everything he says in his sound-bites. Though he was running for his party's nomination, not the head of a state religion. Isn't this a democratic republic and not a religious oligarchy.

    I'm sick and tired of hearing the same old BS from Obama about how he was againest the Iraqi War before the vote on it and how much better his judgement is over the other candidates. Well, where were you when the vote on the Iraqi Army came up? Oh, you were too busy campaigning in NH to make the long trip back to DC in order to cast your vote. Same as McCain –right.

    I'm sick and tired of hearing about poor McCain making his come-back. He should be Bush's shadow since he's fully supported him over all these years.
    All he can do is make his trips to Iraqi and schedule appearances surrounded by military personnel in uniform –same as Bush!!

    Yeah, Hillary, you're in there also. Same sound-bites and how well you'll be able to get things done. I bet, both you and Obama are up to your necks in IOU's.

    As Huckleberry had behind his podium the other 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH'!!!!

    The outcome of either states means nothing to me and would be nice if it were nation-wide. Because this time tomorrow all we'll be hearing is all the so-called experts analysis of who did what and why.

    I've already switched to Independent and WILL NOT vote for the candidate of either party - and may just trash can the TV as well.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  58. Edgar

    If all states voted the same day, then everyone's vote would be equal. We wouldn't have power plays by states and threats to discount votes by political parties. Fair and just elections...isn"t that what our children are fighting for?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  59. jake, bill & ruby

    Here is an idea: why aren't all the caucuses and primaries just scheduled on the same day or within a few weeksof each other period of time around the country. (Example: like have all states west of the Mississippi River go (caucus/primary) one week and states east of the Mississippi River go the next week?

    Jake
    Bill
    Ruby
    -Evansville, Ind.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  60. Art

    Jack-

    Why not start the primaries in Hawaii or Alaska?
    At least by the time the sound bites were available for broadcast,
    two thirds of the nation would be asleep and not have to listen to the
    crap that serves as news.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  61. Ruby Coria

    Jack, welcome back Happy New Year to "The Situation Room Crew." Jack, I don't think that those two States should hold the take off, unless you live there or their your boder state who knows of Iowa & New Hampshire? I want to know the population & the majority race? All kidding aside, I think they should be held in every State on the same day and time. Yes Pacific Stander Time would be cool. Yes I live in LA. CA.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  62. Jim Van, Maryland

    Thanks to the twenty-four hour news cycle, the media, apparently having nothing better to talk about, have stampeded the political parties into ridiculously early primaries. There should be four regional primaries at six week intervals beginning in mid-March. But CNN, and the others in the biz, will never again let it start that late. Wolf, find something else to talk about in 2011.
    Jimmy Van, Chestertown, Maryland

    January 2, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  63. Doug Graham

    Why do we need to have single state caucusing any way? Wouldn’t it be better to just have country wide eliminations? Televise it like any other popular TV reality show. Survivor – DC who will the tribe vote out next?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  64. Gloria Gonzalez

    The early primary states should be rotated for each election. This would avoid the problems in Florida and other states that have moved up their primary dates this year and may lose their delegates as a result. Most voters, I'm sure, would find this a fair solution for the nation as a whole.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  65. tj henderson kingsville texas

    they call that place the bible belt .,.,good chistian folk.,.,put them in the middle of new york .,theyd be lost ,.the real people have it rough trying to survive life.,,.them bible thumpers have no idea what real life is all about.,,.n they r repubs up there ,.,.its a spoof for the repubs,.,.but the dems can show them the light of right,.,.do i care what they think ,.not in the least,.ill just wait for nov ,.n look for the new stuff coming out daily ,.thank god we have cnn,.to tell n show us the truth,.,.ty txtj

    January 2, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  66. Wegene Wells-Bogue

    Jack,

    Absolutely not, I don't think that Iowa and New Hampshire are the right places to start the presidential election process, because as you mentioned in your introduction to your question that these states are almost 100% white and mostly upper middle class people. This might have worked before the 20th century, but today, America has change in its economic status, demographics and international political affairs. I think that states such as New York, California, and Florida should be the right places to start the the process just because they are very diverse. We have to remember the American president is not the president of white middle class Americans, but the president of the United States of America and its citizens.

    ~Wegene

    p.s. I live in NH.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  67. madhacktress

    As you said, Jack, no other single state is representative of the nation as a whole either. Does that mean that the current primary system should be dispensed with? Absolutely not. Anyone who thinks that Iowa and New Hampshire choose the presidential candidates is a fool. Any presidential candidate who drops out of the race merely due to a poor performance in Iowa and N.H is a fool, too.

    Viability is a much larger issue than those two states can prove. The fault doesn't lie in Iowa and New Hampshire so much as it does on the hype that the media puts on them; candidates today are made and broken on the cable news networks, not in Iowa.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  68. Norm

    What difference does it make? Maybe instead of changing states, lets change the candidates.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  69. paul jensen

    Jack,
    Yes, Iowa and New Hampshire are the best places to get the presidential race started. We all know how intimate those campaign appearances are and how well the nation can get to know each candidate personally. I believe in tradition. Let's keep it that way. I admit I am spoiled and prejudiced. I have met many of the candidates more than once or even twice.

    Paul

    January 2, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  70. Dan

    I was born and raised in IOWA and, believe me, unless we have a mass killing at a school the news deosn't cover us. If every four years we get a little attention who gets hurt by that.

    Besides, history shows that IOWA caucusses don't typically pick presidents, they just provide a good place to air out issues.

    IOWA is a foriegn place?

    Damn right! We speak and read English and care about the issues!!!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  71. john

    Where else could you get people to pay attention for six weeks then travel hundreds of miles to caucus, New York or New Jersey get real?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  72. scott

    Start in Alaska- work your way to the mainland when the election process counts. You act like Iowa and NH will pick the next President- you guys – even you Cafferty- take Iowa and NH way too serious- the rest of the country-94% of the polulation- will make up our own minds regardless of the Iowa and NH results.

    I like to see all of you freeze in Alaska and not take yourself soo serious- I also think oif the media had to spend 9 months in Alaska the first states wont matter

    January 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  73. Elaine

    Absolutely NOT! I resent that the party nominees might be chosen by a small minority of voters in two states, neither of which many of the rest of us have much in common with. It is time for this country to change this archaic practice of selecting our candidates in this manner and opt for a national primary, preferable to be held in September, just two months ahead of the general election.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  74. Matt S.

    As a student in Iowa this would be my question why not Iowa and New Hampshire? I think that Iowa is the best place for the presidential election to start. Iowa is in the middle of the nation or as they say around here the “Heartland of the United States”. Iowa ranks in the top for education and literacy. Or do we not want some of the smartest people in the nation making the most important choice for our nation!?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  75. Ketabi

    Hush!!!
    Just keep it in dark! Don't let my country, Iran, know about your election system. They imagine you have a democracy. Knowing the ridiculously non-functioning election system in the US, they will stick to their own imposed, non-democratic system.

    H. Ketabi
    Vancouver

    PS:
    Dear Mr. Cafferty! I sent you a recent opinion survey on "Iran & Some Hot Issues" (in 25 pages) some weeks ago, but I did not receive any email acknowledging the receipt. Could you, please, confirm the receipt? If you have not received the survey for any reason, I can send it again upon your instruction.

    Regards.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  76. Jill

    As an Iowa resident this will be my first caucus that I will be attending. I have spoken with numerous friends and family that will be joining me there for their first time as well. This is an exciting time for us here in Iowa. It has been said that we as a state are not a very good cross section of the United States. That may be true- but that does not make our opinions any less important. The candidates have been asking us to make a difference here- and I believe that many of us want to be a part of this change as the last 8 years are something we don't want to repeat. And if by going and participating in these caucuses we can make a difference in our health care issues, renewable energy issues, agricultural issues and education issues- you can bet we are going to show up in larger numbers than ever before. I look forward to tomorrow night with excitement to see if we can make a difference!!!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  77. Richard Howard

    We should have a national primary. It should be over a 2 day weekend. There is no excuse for most people that they couldn't get to polls because of work, etc.
    The time of primary would be the first weekend in April. That still gives the candidates plenty of time before the Election in November to bore us with their promises of what they are going to do for the American People.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  78. Arnold Lindaman

    Iowa and New Hampshire are the best places to begin this important election process. We are well educated, well informed, and we are fair. Our processes are transparent and democratic. No manipulation of the voting process and no hanging chads. Iowa and New Hampshire have attracted a wide open and diverse field of candiates in both parties. We have succeeded in educationing the rest of the nation about the candidates with trust and fairness. Which combination of states could do better?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  79. Robert Mentzer

    Electing The Presidential Whore

    No, Jack. The ENTIRE Presidential election process has become a prostitution of Democracy. Washington being the Las Vegas, The White House the brothel, and the Presideny becomes the county's whore.

    More than 300 million spend already and by CNN's own reporting, an estimated 2 billion total will be spent for the office.

    This obscene process would make the last days of Rome embarrassed!

    In my world no candidate could take outside money (TAXPAYER FUNDING ONLY), no primary would be held before July 4th, no primary after July 31 of the year of the general election, elimination of ALL state fees (petition signatures alone qualifies, 10,000 per state, 500,000 qualifies for entire country, no party affiation required) and most importantly NO ELECTORIAL COLLEGE, popular vote only AND EVERY VOTE MUST BE TRACEABLE AND VERIFIABLE.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  80. Michael Shea

    No, Absolutely not. In 2004 Iowa set the Democratic nomination with a drumed
    up candidate and a conservative organazation helped a lot to do that. Then
    New hampshire followed suite and so went the rest of the nation. I want a
    candidate for the people. The elected people are suppose to work for us, but they do not. They are bought and paid for by corporate America. Jack you help, but
    most of the press is also controlled for certain candidates. Most of the nation
    already knows that it still is not time to elect a woman or a minority to President,
    yet two are pushed by the press so democrats foolishly jump on the bandwagon.
    If Clinton or a minority gets the nomination I will vote for that person, but that
    person will not win and the Republicans know that. The press should know
    that as well. Anyone who does not know how ridiculous the war in Iraq is by
    now has really got their head in the sand and down deep. Ask the pentagon
    why and how they lost billions of dollars of weapons and why they do not
    arm the Iraqi's and why Iraq bought 100 million dollars of weapons from
    China. In my opinion Bush does not want them to be in charge of their country.
    He wants to be.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  81. Mike

    Seriously, who cares what Iowa or New Hampshire think, and why do the candidates and media feed into it so much? If the candidates and the media did not pay them so much attention, maybe the rest of the county would get some choice about who leads our nation next , maybe the states who primaries aren't until March-June would start giving a crap about the primaries and not be so apathetic! One National Primary Day Now!!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  82. Andy

    No, we should have a national primary

    January 2, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  83. Lorrie in Pittsburgh

    No I believe we should all have the right to decide who should run for office. One day everyone votes. Get it done and over with this process takes way too long as far as I am concerned. Limit the amount of time they can advertize and hold "town hall meetings" I want to hear about the issues that effect me not mud slinging that we tend to see every where.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  84. Dennis Scott

    No; it should start in the Congress with election reform that would allow someone who is not a multi-millionaire and in the pocket of special interest groups to run for president.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  85. BERNARD DALTON

    THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY SHOULD BE ON THE SAME DATE FOR ALL STATES. ALSO, THE IOWA CAUCAS IS SO ARCHAIC IT SHOULD BE REVAMPED IMMEDIATELY.

    IMAGINE, OUR MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN SERVING OUR COUNTRY, AWAY FROM HOME, ARE NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE. IMAGINE, OUR ELDERLY AND SICK WHO CANNOT TRAVEL ARE NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE.

    AS A MILITARY REITREE, I DEMAND ALL SERVICE MEMBERS BE ALLOWED TO VOTE IF THEY SO DESIRE.

    LET'S SCRAP THE IOWA CAUCAS AND LET JACK AND WOLF PICK THE CANDATES.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  86. Arnold Lindaman

    Iowa and New Hampshire are the best places to begin this important election process. We are well educated, well informed, and we are fair. Our processes are transparent and democratic. No manipulation of the voting process and no hanging chads. Iowa and New Hampshire have attracted a wide open and diverse field of candiates in both parties. We have succeeded in educationing the rest of the nation about the candidates with trust and fairness. Which combination of states could do better?

    January 2, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  87. Doug Mayland

    Of course, being from Iowa I would believe that Iowa IS the place to start the election process. However, more than simply being an Iowan I have good reason for this opinion. Iowa IS a small state. Small enough to MAKE the candidates campaign. Iowans want you to look them in the eye when when you ask for thier vote. The entire world gets to see high profile politicians talk to real people in real settings. Coverage of the Iowa campaign process provides a valuable insight into the candidates that would probably not happen if the process was different. And by the way, in a state that boasts the highest literecy rate in the nation, we might not be as "backwoodsy" as detracters would like to make us out!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  88. ken

    JACK.
    I THINK A COUNTRY WIDE DAY OF PRIMARYS IS DUE. EVERYONE IN THE NATION HAS HEARD ENOUGH. TIME TO MAKE THE CANDIDATES PAY ATTENTION TO EVERY AMERICAN. WHILE IM AT IT IN THIS DAY OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION I THINK IT IS WAY PAST TIME TO DO AWAY WITH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE, IT IS TIME TO MAKE EVERY VOTE COUNT. A POPULAR VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION WOULD MAKE OUR COUNTRY A TRUE DEMOCRACY

    January 2, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  89. Eli Martinez

    We need regional primaries. Eastern, Central and Pacific. Starting in March. Elections to be held two months apart. That formula leves two months to campaing for the general election. Then, and only then, will we get our Thanksging and Christmas back to be with our families.

    January 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  90. Barb Mitchell

    The insistence on primaries in two extremely unrepresentative states is one of many factors in the downfall of this democracy. Instead of all citizens having some means (perhaps by the Internet) to participate in an honest primary, we are exposed instead to either the millionaires (cf. Romney, et al.) or those with the most calculating funds amassers. The parties themselves are doing us all an injustice by insisting on the current process. It is certainly disconcerting to realize that a miniscule number of voters in an almost all-white evangelical Christian state can affect a national election outcome at a time when the entire world needs a President in this United States who can be expected to be intelligent enough to realize that he must work WITH the rest of the world, not simply at the behest of the largest corporations who are currently funding Washington politicians or at the behest of a few well-funded bigoted evangelical minorities!

    January 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  91. Deirdra Halley

    NO the primary system is totally driven by money. The system must be reformed no state can represent this diverse nation.

    January 2, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  92. Robert Baker

    TThe caucuses are dominated by the true believer from both parties. The candidates pander to the extremes of each party. Presidential politics is radicalized from the get-go. A premium is placed on dissension.

    It makes hypocrites of candidates who have to spend the rest of the campaign trying to move back to the center. It undermines our confidence in our government and institutions. Why do we do this to ourselves?

    January 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  93. Tamara Le

    There is a fundamental flaw in your question, Jack.

    Iowans don’t caucus for the nation, they caucus for themselves. If you look at the long history of the proceedings you’ll find Iowans have been inviting presidential candidates to the state as a means to meet them since the state constituted the Western frontier of the US. As in their seasonally-focused, early-to-bed early-to-rise lives, Iowans research what to sow far before planting season.

    As for New Hampshire-ites, they just dispense with red tape and the dog-and-pony shows early. Who wants to spend their six weeks of summer in the midst of more hot air?

    Tamara Le – a former Iowan and current New Hampshire-ite

    January 2, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  94. Pete

    Mr. Cafferty, "a few hundred thousand voters" is a vast overstatement. Were it not for a mere six hundred Iowans and a condenser microphone, President Dean would be pulling the last of the troops out of Iraq by now.

    January 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  95. Ann

    Why not Iowa and New Hampshire? In Iowa, as a literate, thinking population, we take this political process very seriously. In general, most Iowans are well traveled, well read, and understand the issues and the intricacies involved, and are not easily swayed by the polls and media. Instead, we study, read, listen, and get out and meet the candidates. Why wouldn't you want to have people who take their jobs as voters seriously and are engaged in the process helping with such a serious responsibility? The worst part of it all is how the media portrays us, Iowa is not as rural, and white as they would like you to think. We have strong urban areas and a wide variety of various cultures and ethnic races represented, Finally, Iowa's size and geography allows the candidates with the smaller war chests to compete and get their messages out. In a larger state their voices would be barely heard.

    January 2, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  96. Denise

    National primary, baby! Lets see the stats on how many voteres in each state actually get out and vote. Then no one can complain...not even me.

    January 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  97. Not Sure

    Iowa does not pick the president and neither does New Hampshire. The amount of influence these two states have on the overall endorsing process is being vastly overstated. By February nobody will even remember who "won" in Iowa.

    This argument that Iowa "is not like the rest of the country, we should let (insert east coast of highly populated state name) go first is insulting. The people of Iowa are not morons- they are well educated, and probably have a better understanding of what life is like in your self important state more so than the other way around.

    The problem with our nominating process is that only the most active (and usually most liberal or conservative) political party members get involved. The moderates are too busy doing other things with their lives to take the time to get a tolerable candidate on the ballot. The race to the left or right for the primary, then a race back to the middle for the general election, is what makes this process so laughable. The crazy activists in Iowa and New Hampshire are the same as they are in Ohio and New York.

    January 2, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  98. Katy Hill Prescott, Az.

    We need a nationwide primary day just like the general election if for no other re

    January 2, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  99. Katy Hill Prescott, Az.

    WE NEED A NATIONWIDE PRIMARY DAY JUST LIKE THE GENERAL ELECTION SO WE DON'T HAVE TO WATCH ENDLESS RETAURANT SCENES AND BABY HUGGINGS IN IOWA

    January 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  100. Carl O'Hair

    Too many people are too excited about the nation being a democracy. We have always been a republic and that is part of the reason that we won't be abolishing the electoral college anytime soon. I wonder if these people who worry about that part of Presidential election have any idea why the Constitution won't soon be amended to do away with the election procedure. I don't think many of them learned much in their high school civics classes.

    Now as to the nomination process, I wonder how many people are as old as I am and can remember when neither Iowa or New Hampshire was anything but the lead off states. It is the media that has made this show what it is. Remember 2004 in Iowa when John Dean was pushed aside by the media and all the sound bites of his little performance aimed at showing he was ready to go all the way? I hated what the media did then and hated it even more when Jon Carry, I spell it that way because of that sign the GIs from Iraq did on that sign, got the nomination.

    Since when do these states nominate these people? Don't we remember 1972 when the Democrat Convention nominated George McGovern. These primaries were originally used to elect delegates to the National Convention where the selection of candidates was made. We do need to stop picking our nominees in these primaries and get back to doing it the original way. Is that just the reasoning of an old man?

    January 2, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  101. Hugh Wallace

    wherever it is is not as important as money & exposure, media could begin by giving as much time to 2nd tier candidates as they do the big two or three, the big guys get more free exposure than the other candidates. When it comes to experience which Clinton pushes, media should push that thought as it relates to Biden, Dodd, & Richardson, all of which far exceed her when it comes to experience but the failure of the media to give them as much attention compared to that given to Clinton is regrettable

    January 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  102. Stacey

    Holding primaries on different dates does not bother me. The thing I don't like is that it is the same two states that get to vote first and then the rest of us have to choose our candidate based on who the people in those states have chosen, not to mention the low percentage of voters in those states that actually turn out to vote in their primary/caucus. Rotating the states would be a much better option. Maybe there could be a lottery/drawing format where someone picks the order in which the states hold their primaries. Otherwise, reward the states that have the highest percentage of registered voters voting in the previous Presidential election and let them hold their primary first and the states that had the lowest percentage of voters vote in the last election hold their primary last. Four years should be enough time for someone to figure out what percentage of registered voters actually voted in each state.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  103. Karen

    If Iowa and New Hampshire are politically educated, why haven't they made up their minds? Despite what the media reports, the candidates are different on the issues so this isn't difficult. Maybe one of these days we'll have a poll determining if any of the so-called political geeks can name a legitimate website where you can get voting history or position papers. I'm sure they can name the most popular candidate with the cable news channels. When 'we the people' stop acting like it's a high school popularity contest, maybe we can get to the issues.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  104. Ray DeMars

    Jack,

    Of course not, but that logic just plays right into the electoral college misrepresentation, the 2 vote senate unbalance, and the politically biased supreme court.

    Oh, by the way – did I mention that the imperial President makes all the foreign policy decisions.

    Ray from Lake Tahoe Cali

    January 2, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  105. george mueller

    Dear Sir –

    I have been watching the news about the upcoming primaries All of the news now is about the primaries (or caucuses) in Iowa, NH , SC and Florida.

    I live in a state (Texas) where the primary will be held later.

    It occurrred to me that my choice of a candidate is being dictated or decided by these primaries since by the time these are completed the field of candidates will be narrowed to only 2 or 3 in each party and I will really not have a choice to pick any of the others.

    Or if they are on the primary ballot it will be academic if I do pick them since they will have already dropped out of the race.

    So in essence the other early primary states are (at least partially) picking a candidate for me.

    Should we not have national , simultaneous primaries for all states in the same way we have a national election??

    Or am I missing something here??

    George Mueller

    January 2, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  106. RichardF (from Texas)

    Undoubtedly Iowa and New Hampshire have an unfair impact on the primaries. The typical justification is tradition. Tradition is all well and good, but it should not dictate that someone else's vote has more impact than mine.

    Despite what some writers say, the early primaries (not just Iowa and New Hampshire) do have a disproportionate impact. The only reason national candidates visit Texas during the primaries is to raise money. The races are all decided by the time we vote.

    In addition, I think the current trend towards earlier and earlier primaries hurts both parties and leads to more dependence on big money (to finance the extended campaigns).

    I believe that primaries should be staggered to allow candidates to campaign. How about this? A national primary system in which the first states rotate. How they start, and how they ultimately rotate has yet to be determined, but it could be done by size, region, lottery, voter turnout in previous elections, primary type (caucus vs popular vote) or some combination of the above.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  107. Patrick

    Yes, I believe Iowa and New Hampshire are the right places to begin the election cycle. Personally I believe the two states to be more indicative of the democratic process than people give it credit for. Because of smaller venues, cheaper costs of campaigning, and focus on only two states, candidates who wouldn't be able to fund national campaigns or garner national attention are given a much larger chance. For example on the Democratic side, without IA and NH, you wouldn't have the candidates like Biden, Richardson, Dodd, or even Edwards, all of whom can't fund a national campaign; a national primary or a shift to a larger state like California would make this a race of money instead of politics. IA and NH level the field.

    I live in Iowa but I go to college in Atlanta, and I can say that the rest of the nation is probably much more ignorant about Iowa than we are of other states and issues. To say that we are an evangelical "bible-thumping" state is preposterous. Iowa politics has been decidedly divided the last few decades, extremely close to being 50/50 "Red" v. "Blue" as a state. Iowans are devoted to the process and really take to heart the idea of selecting a national leader, no matter where you go here you can expect to overhear a conversation about candidates and their politics. Plus, I doubt that anywhere else in the country would be willing to devote an entire year to selecting candidates (as Iowa pretty much has to now).

    January 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  108. Mike, NJ

    Jack, first...I agree with your comment on the voting machines. We, as a nation, should be ashamed of not being able to implement voting equipment that has accountablity. It is unbelievable (and I mean NOT believable) that the equipment manufacturers can not technically implement a robust voter verified paper trail.

    Once we fix the voting equipment so that the process will actually matter, I would like to see a nation-wide primary with a fixed amount of public funding for ALL campaigns (no more money than that is allowed!). It will be a test of how well the candidates can hold to a budget....but more importantly, it will remove obligations to special interests. And while we have the hood open, let's add at least one more strong party to the mix.

    The current process is a disaster – just look at the candidates. Are we really serious about putting another Clinton (or Bush..I'm sure Jeb is eyeing 2012) in the Whitehouse? Again, unbelievable!

    January 2, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  109. william fitzwater , ca

    New Hampshire & Iowa;
    In some ways they are not relevant. However people want to say yes such and such is wining .
    This can have a effect of making voters apathic . This just plays into the hands or the ultra right wing or lefest . I guess they are the only ones voting.
    I think there should be a national primary and voting like Europe on week ends . Making voting more democratic by realy encouring people to get out and vote.
    Other wise the only ones out there voting are the nut cases . We have only to look at the kind of elected officials that are in charge.

    We need some real change but is realy going to happen this time ?

    January 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  110. Mark Stein

    Absolutely not! The system is outdated and should be changed. Most Americans probably couldn't point Iowa or New Hampshire out on a map.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  111. Raleigh Myers

    HALF THE WORLD Is UNDER 30 _ Age Closest to BARACK OBAMA

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html#People

    Much of the war torn planet's population is under thirty. This demography cries for a generational shift in politics _ the politics of hate have prevailed since the beginning of time. We now have an opportunity to morph with those who have inherited this mess. The old guard have put in place a scenario that makes it impossible for the younger generations to figure out the games. The gaming of the life support system for the perpetuation of our nose ring, currency before life support, are a place to start. The planet is tanking the currencies are failing and the old guard just wants to create more pre natal debt to go on thieving from the unborn.

    Barack Obama says share the presidency rather than just vote for him. Nowhere in the GOP or the DLC is there a hint of sharing anything. Experience is how to ask the people what they need and then get it done. An Electrician became the president of Poland in the worst of times today we have an Idiocracy _ now we need to manage a paradigm shift. The alphabet soup crowd brought us GAIAcide and Corporatism _ it could hardly get any worse. If we get a young president with an already shifted mindset, the youth of the world will respond in kind _ much of the planets war torn population are under thirty.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  112. Gordon Cole

    The present primary and caucus system in outdated. Tally's can now be counted in a day on the national level. While I firmly advocate Freedom of Speech, a media blackout is absolutely warranted regarding election day vote counting. The mainstream media largely interferes in the election process and needs to stand down for a day allowing Americans to vote using a degree of independent thought.

    My favorite example is an engineering colleague of mine who recent said when asked his opinion, I need to watch FOX News before I know what I think about that. Pathetic!

    January 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  113. Laurinda

    I think that all states should vote at the same time also. I also think that the whole election process is wrong. Why should we bother to vote if are votes don't really count because of this electoral votes nonsense. That goes way back to when men had long white hair in a flip, pointed shoes with buckles and frilly shirts. There weren't enough people around way back then so that is how they did it. We have more then enough people now so someone with some common sense should change this nonsense. Last of all if we can send people to space then why to heck can we not have adequate voting machines? I think that we all know the answer to that question.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  114. Jim S.

    Its not that they are the right state or the wrong state. It’s that no single state should hold such power indefinitely. Last time I checked, we live in a democracy of 50 states, not 2. So, lets apply what we learned in kindergarten and take turns.

    January 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm |
  115. Patricia E. Burgess

    Jack, The whole voting system is really stupid! We should go back to a popular vote by paper. Not speedy, but at least honest. Thanks, Pat

    January 2, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  116. Christine

    It would be interesting to study the effect of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary on election outcomes prior to the use of mass media in political campaigning. I wonder if those states had the same impact before the introduction of our currently uninformative, trivial, and biased available coverage. Rather than changing the nomination process, I think it's time for the Federal Election Commission to carefully regulate the corporate media's control of our national dialogue.

    Christine
    Burke, VA

    January 2, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  117. Hedd Wyn

    I like how ol Jack thinks Iowa and New Hampshire have too much importance in determining the next president. Since when? The media is the ONLY people that place too much importance to the caucuses in Iowa and the election in New Hampshire.

    The media has fed the citizens of the US that things are make or break because of what happens in these two states. The sad thing that has happened is that every other state that thinks it is getting short changed has front loaded their primaries and caucuses within days and weeks of Iowa and NH. By doing so they contribute to this notion that everything is make or break. CNN and their ilk are the ones that are magnifying the results of the two states. 24 hours to fill leaves a lot of time to fill– not for reporting, no today we have talking heads with their opinions filling air time. Instead of having in depth reporting, the "news" is now a few 15 second sound bites in-between blowhards.

    I remember Jack Cafferty from his time at WHO-TV in Des Moines. Moving to New York CIty has not made him any more insightful.

    January 2, 2008 at 7:12 pm |
  118. Mark

    I had one thought about this topic.

    Many people are under the incorrect assumption that, because Iowa and New Hampshire vote first, they select the candidate for each party. Winning Iowa and New Hampshire can help a candidate to move forward confidently, and has historically provided a boost to many campaigns, but does not have a large bearing on the end process. Iowa, for example, only provides 56 out of a total 4,366 state delagates to the Democratic National Convention. That is less than 1.5% of the votes at the DNC.
    In 2004, New Hampshire provided 27 delegate to the DNC. That is less than 1%. These numbers hardly make the decision for the rest of the nation.

    Also, when posting a comment and attempting to persuade someone that your opinion is one that a reasonable and intelligent person should care about, please attempt to use correct spelling and acceptable grammar. It is hard to respect someone who feels that a good reason for not allowing Iowa and New Hampshire to vote first is "them bible thumpers have no idea what real life is all about." That is simply my opinion, perhaps I am wrong.

    January 2, 2008 at 7:31 pm |
  119. Joan

    I am appalled by the amount of money being spent by the candidates in Iowa!! They could pay for universal health care with it! I am extremely upset with our election system that allows a small number of states to elect our president! I believe it is time to elect our president by national popular vote, with a primary election held on the same day nation wide. I would also like to see the campaign time shortened to two months total. If the candidates cannot get their message across in that amount of time then they lack the ability to communicate that we need in a leader. They are all saying the same meaningless words over and over . I resent the time and money that is spent on a few states! If we want to hear a candidate speak in our state,Washington, we have to spend thousands of dollars for a fund raising dinner. I tried sending E-mails to three of the candidates to express my opinion on a subject. All the attention I received was to generate numerous requests for money. I am thoroughly disgusted with the cheating and dishonesty and unfairness of our whole electoral system. And we are supposed to set an example of democracy for the world?

    January 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
  120. Chris S - Gerald, MO

    Why not start in Washington State where third parties also fare well? If not, I will stick to my original thought, Wyoming and North Dakota, unless there are less populated states.

    January 2, 2008 at 7:45 pm |
  121. Lauren

    As an Iowan, I am very pleased with all of the attention we get from each of the presidential candidates, but it is extremely unfair to all of the people who come from states who have late primaries. It's also unfair to the candidates, for many of them will be forced to drop out of the race after the Iowa caucus, and the other states won't be able to vote for them. The fairest way to solve these problems would be to have a national primary.

    January 2, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  122. David ~ Austin, TX

    My response is, "Who cares?" Your vote only counts if you live in one of the handful of states that are actually up for grabs. In the 2004 election, 21 states didn't receive a visit from either party's Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate. Why? Because the state's electoral votes were all but decided. Which states pick their parties nominees first is irrelevant. More important to me is abolishing the electoral college, so that a Conservative in California can vote, and know their vote counts, and a Liberal in Alabama can do the same.

    January 2, 2008 at 8:06 pm |
  123. JA

    Hi from Iowa,
    Iowa is an easy state to get around in and any of us that really want to get involved in the caucus system can. That is we actually can see and hear in person what is going on with all the candidates without too much effort. The same applies to the candidates on the stump, they get a true feel of what we are thinking.
    The concerns are the same as many parts of the country:health care, stopping the war, education, the envirnoment.
    Do the candidates spend too much money stumping? Heck yes...do they reach the entire state so that everyone that wants to attend a event may... very close....can't even try that in the larger populated states.
    Many of the folks attending the caucus on Thursday will have looked the candidates right in the eye, shook their hands and asked questions. We take the process seriously and so do the candidates.
    For the record I have seen Obama twice, Hillary once and Edwards twice. I am standing up for Edwards after changing my mind a couple times( helps I sat next to his wife at event over the weekend). I like Obama but in my mind he just might be too nice to get tough on World problems. Edwards is a fighter, Hillary is Hillary.
    Would I be sad if there weren't so many phones calls, mail, commercials to deal with the caucus process....no way.

    January 2, 2008 at 8:09 pm |
  124. Robert J Strelau

    Where or when we begin the political process is not important. What is important is that we have a slate of candidates that are truly exemplary. Unfortunately, the statistically insignificant differences among the leading candidates must be interpreted as a measure of their mediocrity. One could achieve the same result by pulling a lever blindfolded. What we really need is a vote selection that states, "None of the candidates are acceptable – start over".

    January 2, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  125. Ellesandra Meyer

    My view on this is that the election process has to start somewhere, and as said on the air, not any one or even two states are going to be able to fully represent the entire United States as a whole. The fact that Iowa is small enough for voters to get one-on-one time with candidates is also very beneficial, whereas in a bigger state, options like these are ruled out.

    January 2, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  126. marilynne

    The very white state of Iowa has embraced the candidacy of Barack Obama so warmly that he will certainly benefit from whatever impact our primary system carries. He may well win tomorrow night, and he will certainly finish very strongly. The implication of the comments about Iowa's size and demographics can only be that a minority candidate would have no chance here. This notion is clearly false, unambiguously disproved. Why are people so locked into their cliches about small towns and corn fields that they cannot look at reality?
    The Democratic caucuses are projected to be much larger than the Republican ones, so Huckabee, whom the press has made such a phenomenon, has the support of a minority of a minority, in a field of uniformly unpopular candidates. Obama, on the other hand, has risen to the top of a strong field, and he has done it by direct and personal persuasion of a kind that would not be possible in a populous state. And if anyone bothered to notice the enthusiasm in this very white state for Barack Obama, questions about his electability in the great inter-coastal wilderness might drop away, along with a few of the destructive canards about what Iowa and other "foreign places" are really like.

    January 2, 2008 at 8:27 pm |
  127. Paul Tarullo

    Sure, the people are white in New Hampshire and Iowa. So, let's play race card politics and discriminate against them because they are white, and ditch the historical and cultural value of these states in the primary process. Why have American politics become so polarized? Because of the insistence on bringing race into any political event. It is what is ruining the political landscape in the country. It is a disgrace.

    Maybe the people of these two states are more in tune with politics and smarter politically than the politically ignorant and biased people who have their own agenda in the liberal and eastern states. I say keep the first caucus and the first primary exactly where they are; at the same time, you can leave the US Constitution where it is too.

    Paul Tarullo
    http://www.uscitizensrights.org

    January 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  128. Jeff From Jersey

    It doesn't much matter where you start since it's where you end up that really counts.By "Super Tuesday" nobody will care about Iowa or New Hampshire anyway.At least those states might eliminate enough of these mediocre candidates to reduce the "politician pollution" to the merely "hazardous to your health" level from the "Highly toxic and Lethal" level that it has been at for so long that it's a miracle the voters are even alive.Let the people in those states deal with the whole sideshow,from the constant telephone calls through the door-to-door political salesman to the fleabag candidates with the ever present infestation of media.They can keep it!

    January 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  129. Mariel

    Have any of you actually BEEN to New Hampshire? If you have you'll know that it's just like many other states – rural areas aren't very diverse but urban areas are (yes... we have urban areas just like everyone else; and electricity, too!). Our minority population is growing every day and the urban sprawl of Boston has long since creeped across our borders.

    As a NH resident I appreciate the chance to get to know the candidates (since they're here every other day) but don't see why we can't have a National Primary... what is the logic for keeping all states separate other than the classic, "That's the way it's always been!"

    I'm all for a single-day primary but for pete's sake people, please stop assuming people in NH and IA have never seen someone from another race up!

    January 2, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  130. gina

    What I would like to know is who decided that only two states get to decided for the rest of the country who is going to get to run for Presidency in the first place? Excuse me but what if the candidate that I like gets run out of the race because the people of New Hampshire and Iowa didn't like him? That doesn't seem very fair to me. I'll admit that I am not an expert on politics but this concept just seems to be so wrong. I think the people of America should be given the chance to decide for themselves who should get to run or not, not the people of just two states that DO NOT represent the rest of America. By the way all the responses from the people of Iowa and New Hampshire, Please quit implying that you're better educated and better informed then the rest of us "common folk" in the country, besides I'd rather trust someone who uses common sense in making a decision. Being book smart doesn't mean you have the common sense to make a good decision.

    January 2, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  131. Krystal, Iowa

    Wow, for the number of people here saying how "white" we are and no diversity, please explain how a woman, a black man, and a morman are leading the polls.

    Now, I know I will get blasted but starting here and New Hampshire give all potential candidates an opportunity to get out their message, and like someone else mentioned here – in bigger states, that would never happen.

    No matter who Iowans or the people from New Hampshire pick YOU ALL STILL HAVE THE CHANCE to participate in your states primaries and caucus'. You also have the opportunity to get involved. Look at Paul and Huckabee – both used grassroots and that wasn't just in Iowa.

    Personally I think starting in states like New York, California, Texas or Ohio would not give a "real" reflection of how the country is as a good majority of people from those states can't see anything beyond their own borders.

    January 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  132. Lee

    Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the whole country. I'd much rather see a national primary in mid summer and have the conventions only to choose the running mate and formalize the campaign. The Iowa caucus system is especially a bad way to choose a candidate. I mean, no secrete ballot- talk about subtle intimidation. And you can only participate if you come in the evening. What about the people who have to work nights, have kids, or need to travel? I can't believe nobody has ever sued for disenfranchisement over the whole process.

    Then again, Iowa and New Hampshire only have as much power as we let them have. What I mean is I will vote for who I want regardless of what happens in Iowa or New Hampshire. If you make your decision based on what happens there, you are just a lemming.

    January 2, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  133. Alice Newman

    These two small states take their responsibility to vet the candidates very seriously. Where else can a person have the opportunity to see each one, up close and ask the tough questions. In NH, you can meet Rudy in a small diner with about 18 others. You ask your question: he answers and both are printed in the national news. Much better that watching a political performance in a football stadium where voters are mere spectators than actual participants.

    As for influence – if Fred doesn't do well in Iowa or NH, its not over. He can campaign in as many states as he wants. There are many other primaries.

    National primaries would be controlled by national media. The voters would not the the ones setting the priorities since they have no access to those running for office.

    January 3, 2008 at 2:25 am |
  134. Darlyne Burns

    Jack,
    I am appalled at this process. Maybe it's because I'm retired that I now realize what craziness our voting system has become. I used to feel my vote counted and never realized the candidates had already been dwindled down by other states that have no right to speak for me!
    We need a national primary voting day! All candidates should be given an equal chance to win across the country. What a sham. Democracy?
    Aloha,
    Darlyne
    P. S. Thank you for lending an aspect of sanity to TV broadcasting.

    January 3, 2008 at 3:45 am |
  135. mike daniels

    Jack:–I don't actually care a whole lot where it starts -it has to start somewhere.....I agree with you Ohio comment however...but then again -if they fix the machines and if Florida ever gets the message that everyone is allowed to vote it will hinder the G-O-P from being able to swipe an election...
    Now why after the last 8 years would anyone want to hinder the swiping of an election by those God fearing constitution loving and love quoteing the founding fathers out of context Republicans? (tongue in cheek)

    January 3, 2008 at 3:52 am |
  136. Jerris

    I think that the order of states to have their primaries or caucuses should be in the order they were admitted to the Union. Obviously, this would make Delaware the first state to hold a primary. Granted, Delaware has a population of under 1 million and only 3 electoral votes, but at least it's not as arbitrary as Iowa (3 million people, 7 electoral votes, 29th into the union). Then at least Pennsylvania would be next, with a population of over 12 million and 23 electoral votes (as compared to New Hampshire: 1.2 million people, 4 electoral votes, 9th admission to the union).
    This way, the states that ratified the Constitution earliest, the same Constitution that the Presidential candidate they are voting for to "preserve, protect, and defend," would get the first chance at nominating the next President.

    January 3, 2008 at 4:20 am |
  137. Heath

    The idea of having a few states start the process is correct, in my opinion. However, I don't think that Iowa and NH should start the process every four years. I think you should divide the country into 5 regions and have an "early" primary in 1 state of each region. Rotate through the states so that each has a chance to have an early say in choosing the candidates.

    I don't like the idea of a national primary b/c it would put even more of an emphasis on fundraising. Those with the most money would have an even larger advantages b/c 90% of voters would not have the opportunity to listen to each candidate in person. That system would just lead to a campaign dominated completely by TV commercials and sound clips that are filtered through pundits and spinsters.

    Having 5 primaries starting things out would put more of a burden on less funded candidates. But candidates could also use the system to focus on one particular starting state in a region where they are strong in order order to get more play in the national media (similar to Edwards play in SC in '04, though he surprised in Iowa as well).

    As for the regions, I would make one out of the 10 largest states so there is always one state that includes a more diverse population that is comparable to the overall US demographics. After that, I would divide the states by regions so that the different political mindset of different sections of the country is represented. It would look something like this:

    Population Group – Cal, Texas, FL, NY, Ill, Penn, Ohio, MI, GA, NC
    Western Group – Wash, OR, AK, HA, AZ, NM, NV, Idaho, Mont, Colo
    Northeast – Maine, NH, Verm, Mass, RI, Conn, NJ, Maryland, DE, WV
    Southeast – VA, Kent, TN, SC, Bama, Miss, LA, Ark, Oklahoma
    Midwest/Heartland – ND, SD, Mich, Minn, Iowa, Mizzou, Kansas, Ind, Wyoming. Wisc

    January 3, 2008 at 4:41 am |
  138. Liz from NH

    At first, I was thinking if y'all want to be first, either move to NH or really get off your backsides and do something about being first other than whining "wah wah, NH and Iowa are first. They're not like the rest of America, they don't have enough ________ to choose the president". (And by the way, part of that doing something would involve a temporary move to NH to lobby for repealing our first in nation primary law.) Then after fielding my fifth politics related call of the night, I decided have the heck at it! This will be my third presidential season living in NH. Let me tell you about all the fun I've had. In 2000, I lived in an apartment building where a Dem candidate's campaign rented an apartment for their college aged volunteers. As the Dems dropped out, the apartment was passed to the next candidate in line. The volunteers stacked themselves into it like cordwood: 15 kids in a 2 bedroom unfurnished apartment. they took over our laundry room for days at a time (more laundry than a laundrimat!), taking up the dumpster space with old signs and leaflets that weren't usable and my personal favorite: the candidate keggers they would have on the weekends their guy was in NH. Nothing says I want to vote for "x" like listening to the party sounds of their volunteers at 2 in the morning. 2004 wasn't as bad, some phone calls, some extra junk mail. The big downside was being stuck in traffic in my husband's hometown when Candidate whoever was visiting because all the main roads were either shut down for security reasons or clogged with the candidate's motorcade. But this season... I've gotten more Christmas cards from candidates than I recieved regular people cards from. I'm getting 4-5 flyers a day from various campaigns. 6-8 phone calls, starting at 8 am and not stopping until 9. For a long time, three of those calls a day were Important messages from Dr. Ron Paul, whose pre-recorded message would not disconnect, even after I hung up the phone. The only reason people aren't knocking on my door is because I live in a secure building and they simply cannot get in. Hillary's campaign is under the mistaken impression that I live with another woman because both of our names appear together on just about everything I get from her. Living in Manchester, I can't spit, six months out of the year, without hitting a candidate. I'm working with for the NH Citizens Alliance to register voters. Our job is made more difficult because people see us coming, think we're about to extol the virtues of a particular candidate and slam the door in our faces. We're not about the candidates, we're about just plain voting and having people's voices heard. I expect it to be a little quiet for the next two days (Thank you, Iowa!), but by Saturday, I figure I'll be getting 8-10 phone calls right up until the polls close on primary day.

    Ya know what, I take it all back. I like living in a state where the candidates are salivating for my vote. I like living in a state where one town is so jazzed about the primary that they open the polls at midnight, gather in the polling place and everyone votes. I like that my friends from across the country ask for my views because I'm here seeing it all, first hand. You want some of this action, then GET OFF YOUR DUFFS, as my father would say, and do something about it rather than whining here in Jack's blog. Lobby the government to change this. Get active in your state and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Don't just whine "NH's too white, too rich, too blah blah blah" without doing something to change it. Start a campaign for change, write letters to your editor, run for office yourself. Until you're actively trying to change the process, stop whining about the one we've got. I'm doing something, are you?

    January 3, 2008 at 6:01 am |
  139. Bill W

    I live in PA, and we're among the last states to vote. By the time I get to vote in any primary, all the races are aleady decided. Shouldn't my vote count as much as anybody else's?

    January 3, 2008 at 7:37 am |
  140. Jeff

    It's actually worked pretty well at vetting candidates. It has allowed underfunded candidates to compete, and as a result, has forced a debate on a lot of issues. Governors Huckabee and probably Romney, and Senator McCain would've been out of the picture in a national primary; Senator Clinton would almost certainly be the Democratic nominee in a national primary. If we hate the role of money in politics already, imagine a national primary–competing seriously in countless more media markets far more expensive than the lead-off states.

    January 3, 2008 at 8:33 am |
  141. Ivelisse

    Hello Jack:

    Thanks for saying out loud what I have been thinking for a while..... The short answer is NNOOOOO!!!! .. but, since I know we have to start somewhere......here is my suggestion: ROTATE THEM!!!

    instead of being Iowa, NH, SC and Nevada every election circle... how about a lottery system, in which all states participate, where the FEC chooses the 4 states that will kick off the process.....

    if not, sent all of them to the back of the line, and PLEASE move the starting date back to at least APRIL or MAY!!!! I'm sick of the elections already!!!!

    January 3, 2008 at 8:58 am |
  142. Shawn

    I'm a current NH resident and greatly enjoy the primary season. I have read a lot of the comments on here and the justification for ending the current primary process seems foolish. Many people indicate that NH and Iowa are not diverse states. Because we lack an ethnically-diverse population means that we are unable to see people for who they are? It makes no sense! NH has come a long way in recognizing civil unions, helping minority groups, voting for more Democratic candidates than Republican candidates and sending President Bush a message during the last election that we are smart enough to know his policies are not good for this country. Why, then, do people point the finger at NH and stand up to say, "They are too white, therefore they aren't capable of supporting a diverse field of candidates?" I hate to say it, but comments like these make the rest of the country look even more ignorant. Although we may not have a highly diverse population in New Hampshire, we know enough to measure the character of a candidate based on their hard work and ethics, not the color of their skin or their sex. Any comments to the contrary are foolish.

    January 3, 2008 at 9:05 am |
  143. Becky

    I've seen Iowans take Caucuses very seriously. Iowans in general are very educated and open-minded and will consider varying arguments. They take this decision-making process so seriously that they will listen to candidates stances and support them, even if that candidate is a long shot; they support that candidate because they believe in their positions, not because the media says they have the lead. How else can you describe the surge of Huckabee, Obama in the 2008 election or Edwards in the 2004 election? Because of the history of the Caucuses, Iowans know the importance of the choices they make, so they work hard to get to know the issues and the candidates. No state is totally representative of the other states, so why not start with Iowa where the people have a history of taking this role very seriously?

    January 3, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  144. RJ

    Why not rotate who starts off every four years? Why not have regional primaries that rotate so that possible candidates actually have to tour and get in touch with THE COUNTRY rather than just some small state that most of us don't really care all that much about? I mean immigration has been such a hot topic why not start here in Arizona? Not that McCain would like that much because I can't think of much that he's done for our state, but I digress...

    January 3, 2008 at 9:48 am |
  145. Janet Roberts

    I am sure the people in Iowa and New Hampshire are lovely people but I don't believe they are representative of the rest of the country. When I think about all the good things that could have been done for our country with the money that was spent on political campaigns in Iowa it just makes me ill. Our Republic has been corrupted and if the rest of America does not wake up and take note of this we are in deep do-do. I personally would not vote for any of the front runners. I want a man or woman to fill that office who has a good heart, integrity and the intelligence to do the right thing. Characteristics that you don't usually see in the political world too often and if someone comes to the show who does have those characteristics, Corporate America does everything it can to blast them out of the water.

    January 3, 2008 at 11:27 am |
  146. Nina Palmer

    I feel that Iowa or no other state should have the whole say on the Presidental Election. We should be holding one in each and every state at the same time so all Americans have a choice. This system is very unfair!

    We also should get rid of the electoral votes, this gives certain states more of and advantage. Our President should be elected by popular vote giving all Americans a say in who our President will be. After all this is a country "Of the People by the People for which it Stands", so we all should be represented equally.

    January 3, 2008 at 11:55 am |
  147. Barb Clark

    Jack, we watch you everyday. I have a question for you. What happens to all these hearings they have and the interviewing they do that sounds like some heads are going to roll....then nothing happens. I was watching a lot of them, watched the hearing on why didn't the outpatient clinic for vets get built in New Orleans so the vets could reach it without going a far distance which most can't. The head of VA didn't even have the plans or land purchased. He was instructed to showup in x number of weeks with the plans, etc. well, guess what...in x number of weeks he resigned....no more news on that front. It is so typical. I have been a lifelong democrat but this congress is so embarrassing i can hardly watch them. The members of the house treat the republicans like they aren't even worthy of letting them express themselves o n most of the bills. Disgusting! Well so much for that...gotta lot of thinking to do before the Illinois primary. I just wish I could vote against Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Barb

    January 3, 2008 at 12:10 pm |
  148. Tony P

    With California having 36,457,549, New York 19,306,183 and Texas at 23,507,783 people estimated via the census, we should have at least four states with DIVERSITY making the caucuses not Iowa and N.H. that do not represent me or the majority of the people in which is the state in which I reside.

    It is time to change the old voting laws. Get rid of the electorial college, do a national Caucus so it is fair, and the candidates will have to stand on words and beliefs, not hand shakes and CASH and finally fix the problems with our outdated, antiquated laws! It's 2008, time to act like it!

    Limit the amount of Money the candidates get donated and USE in elections and you will see a whole new round of fresh faces in our elections.

    January 3, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  149. Rich

    Yesterday’s caucus was example of a broken system. What we have here are presidential candidates spending millions chasing a few hundred thousand votes in Iowa while much of the country gets ignored. I live in New Jersey and have never seen a presidential candidate. What we need is a national primary with the winner based on popular vote. This will force the candidates to spend time with rest of us in the country and limit the excessive influence of a small number of people in states like Iowa.

    January 4, 2008 at 9:07 am |
  150. Lisa Perry

    I can't think Iowa's Democratic caucus is very American at all! I was shocked when, being a new resident of Iowa, I learned how this caucus business is so convoluted and public. I don't have to tell everyone and their mother how I'm voting! Never in my entire adult life have I missed an election or a primary, but this was so offensive to me I had to stay away.

    January 4, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  151. Chris

    Dear Jack,
    Why is everyone automatically counting Hillary out of the equation just because she didn't win the Iowa Caucus? It needs to be repeated that President Bill Clinton did not win Iowa, neither did our current president. Barrack Obama needs to win many other states yet, a fete easier said than done. As Hillary soars in national polls, Iowa may be his consolation prize. If my candidate doesn't win this primary, Jack, I won't be voting in November. This is what she means when she says she is the only candidate that can beat a Republican. Also, please tell Lou Dobbs to run on the Independent ticket. He would be my only other choice.
    Chris
    Greensburg, PA

    January 5, 2008 at 10:03 am |
  152. Laurinda

    Well, I would like to pose a question. I was informed by a gentleman that they do not vote with machines. I doubt very much that they use paper ballots, so how do they vote. Another gentleman informed me that they raise their hands, but considering the source I doubt that. That would be ridiculous because there are to many people to put in one room. So, I hope that someone knows. They never seem to reveal that on tv, I wonder why?

    January 5, 2008 at 10:39 am |
  153. John Kelley

    Iowa and New Hampshire do not reflect America. They are a mere fraction of our country, but the politicians have warped our political system in order to control what direction the political process will take.For me, as far as the Republican party is concerned, they are as irrelevant as these two primaries are. For Democrats, the untried, and the new fail the American people people by driving the party away from the center of the political spectrum – the place where victories lie in the Fall, 2008. Since 1972, the Democrats have had to contend with fighting against the perception of change with real change. Real change only takes place in the Center! The perception of change as the Democrats discovered the morning after election day 1972 was an overwhelming defeat to the Democrats, because the party moved so far to the left. So 35-36 years later we are faced by the same forces of driving the Democratic party too far to the left by what I call the McGovern Syndrone. We see it in Edwards – no compromise Edwards. We see it with Obama – who, with non – specific platitudes gives the perception of total change, wiping out the past which will ultimately frighten the majority of Americans by election day. All of this is funneled into the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary with the rest of the country on the side lines waiting for their chance to give their choices. It is undemocratic to say the least! And by the time, these two primaries are over, the damage has been done. The Democrats lose the center and wrapped themselves on the edges of political power. In that vacum, the Republican regain the Presidency. The American people lose, The media wins, and the Fat Cats in Washington work to make serfs of the Middle Class. That is the tragedy of the American political system.

    January 5, 2008 at 12:21 pm |
  154. Nancy

    I have been trying to keep up with all the campaign news and am exhausted and I really haven't done a thing. I look at the candidates plowing through thick and thin and think of Hell Week in my sorority and what a worthless lack of sleep and energy that was. ( I understand that this will be Hell Year for them.) Perhaps though, is this an experiment to see if sleep deprivation really is torture?

    January 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  155. gerry

    Whether or not it is legally okay for these top executives to receive multimillion dollar bonuses based on corporate performance, it seems to be callous in times like these, when costs and other hardships on consumers are at their most oppressive, I would have thought that reason, conscience, goodwill, and respect would have tempered decision-making and actions of these greedy corporate boards.

    Gerry in St.Kitts, West Indies

    January 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  156. Judith M. Hansel

    Jan. 5, 2007

    I am disturbed to see the blatant discrimination against the Midwest in the
    article about Iowa. Being from the Midwest, and having lived on both coasts and in the West, I can explain to you that the Midwest lives by the ideals of the Founding
    Fathers.
    Both coasts display the worst aspects of modern American life and do not
    represent the historical morals and spiritual attitudes of the early United States.

    January 5, 2008 at 6:02 pm |