September 4th, 2008
05:00 PM ET

95% white Iowa keeps backing Obama

Barack Obama spoke at a campaign event at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Seems like a long time ago. January 3, 2008. That night, in the dead of winter, the earth moved in Iowa.

In freezing temperatures, Iowans gathered all across the state for their caucuses. Nobody was looking for any big surprises. Hillary Clinton figured she'd win in a walk. She didn't even bother to campaign there much. But a political unknown had worked his tail off in the Hawkeye state. And when the votes were counted, an improbable journey began.

Barack Obama was on his way, given a huge tailwind by a state that is 95% white. In fact, that night on CNN I remarked that "the only place whiter than Iowa is the North Pole." And Iowans' love for the man from Illinois has remained as rock solid as their principles.

Once again Iowa is at the forefront in this presidential campaign. In the latest CNN/Time Magazine/ Opinion Research Corporation poll out yesterday, Obama has surged to a commanding 15 point lead over John McCain. 55% Obama to 40% for John McCain. Iowa was rated a toss-up until yesterday, and with the way the electoral map is shaping up these new numbers are huge for Obama.

On CNN's electoral map, both Iowa and Minnesota have now been changed from toss-up to leaning Obama, putting the most unlikely candidate for president in our nation's history tantalizingly close to the magic electoral 270 votes needed for election. There are still eight weeks to go, but make no mistake. If Obama goes all the way, white people in Iowa will be a big part of the reason why.

Here’s my question to you: How important is it that Iowa, which is 95% white, remains firmly behind Barack Obama?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Iowa
September 4th, 2008
01:58 PM ET

Does Palin help or hurt McCain?

On October 2, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden will have a vice presidential debate (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sarah Palin electrified that crowd of Republican delegates and supporters last night in St. Paul.

The little known Alaska Governor – who was thrust into the spotlight last week as John McCain's running mate – went on the attack against Barack Obama as well as the media and the so-called Washington elite, while praising McCain. She introduced her family and painted herself as someone who can relate to small town, working-class Americans. Palin described herself as an outsider to Washington – an "average hockey mom" who joined the local PTA which started her rise to governor.

But when it came to solutions to America's myriad problems, Palin was noticeably lacking. She stuck mostly to what she knows: energy. And although she claimed to be as qualified as Obama to be president, Palin didn't tell us what exactly she would do as vice president, a job whose description she wasn't quite clear on just one month ago.

Last night was part one for Palin, and she proved she can rally the base in a way that McCain can't. But, she still hasn't faced questions from the media – which presumably will happen at some point now that she's hitting the campaign trail. At some point Palin will be forced to deal with events that are less scripted and less friendly than last night's. On October 2, she and Joe Biden will tangle in the vice presidential debate where his foreign policy experience dwarfs hers.

Here’s my question to you: Does Sarah Palin help or hurt John McCain's chances of becoming president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain • Sarah Palin