August 15th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Election Express: Back where it all began

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" The CNN Election Express is heading across the country."] DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - We’re back where it all began. Iowa’s caucuses kicked off the presidential primary season back on January 3. And Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa altered the landscape in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The CNN Election Express spent about a month in Iowa late last year to cover all the campaign action. Now we’re back - and for good reason. If you thought once the caucuses ended, Iowa was out of the political picture: Think again.

Vice President Al Gore won the state by only 4,000 votes in the 2000 presidential election. President Bush carried the state by only 10,000 votes four years ago. This time around, the fight for Iowa’s seven electoral votes should be another close one. The most recent state polls give Obama a slight lead over presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

Today we’re at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The annual fair is a must for anyone running for the White House, and it’s also a great place to talk to voters about what’s on their minds.

McCain was here last week, speaking out and talking to voters.

"I've had the great honor as I’'ve been walking around here and meeting people and saying hello to run into our great men and women who have served in our military, and that includes the Iowa guard and reserve,” said McCain.

He never ran an all out campaign to win the Iowa caucuses. Not in 2000, in his first run for the presidency, when he came in fifth in the caucuses. And not this time, when he came in fourth.

“McCain put his money on New Hampshire, which he won both years. The New Hampshire contest includes a lot more Independents - and a lot fewer evangelical voters,” says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, who’s riding the CNN Election Express as we make our way from DC to Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention.

But that was then. This is now. And as Schneider says, “McCain’s not about to write Iowa off the way he did in the caucuses.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Election Express • Iowa • John McCain
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    I saw him talking to a pig asleep.

    August 15, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. 18,000,000 plus the disenfranchised

    You mean the Obama express!!!?????? Don't you?

    August 15, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. Mc Attack!!!

    I've had the great honor as I’'ve been walking around here and meeting people and saying hello to run into our great men and women who have served in our military, and that includes the Iowa guard and reserve,” said McCain***.Did you remind them that you voted for the UNJUST WAR in IRAQ and now you are Georgian ***

    August 15, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. not an obamabot, thank GOD

    please tell the great people from Iowa, that growing food to put into peoples car, is the most elitest view on human life I can think of, people would KILL for corn and us Americans want to fuel our cars with it. Why dont we use the corn we would put in our cars and send it to Africa or better yet to American Farmers and Rancher to feed their livestock, or even the poor Americans we have here in this great place so they can eat something.

    August 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. MD

    Polls do not mean a thing. Iowa will be blue this November, especially after McCane's stance on ethanol subsidy.

    August 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. cecil

    More Tax Deceptions
    August 8, 2008
    Updated: August 12, 2008
    McCain misrepresents Obama's tax proposals again. And again, and again.

    Why Would You Want To Believe His New Tax Ad Now!

    He Continues To LIE!


    August 15, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. dittohead with forty names

    Im backing John McCain and Rush Limbaugh as VP.

    August 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Justin Castro

    Looking foward to this election. May be a very close race depending on how the candidates weather the televised debates.

    August 15, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Montana is Obama Country

    CNN you are not back where it all began because your ethics in reporting and gossip have excelled..!!

    You would rather sensationalize news on a loop and beat a dead horse then report the facts..issues ..or oncerns of consumers in America..!

    get back to reporting real NEWS and you will be back where it all began.

    August 15, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |

    What I would really appreciate is honest and objective reporting. What I'd like to see is every gaff, misrepresented statement or deception uncovered no matter who is responsible for it.

    What I'd like to see is real journalism – not commentary or reporters relying on others for the content of their stories.

    Election Express can you do that?

    August 15, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Paul from Texas

    When CNN stop in small towns,diners,stores, truck stops, and gas stations. You give us more of a true report on how the people really think about who they would like as President and what is important in each area of the country. Go Election Express Go!

    August 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Denise

    IOWA has been good to Obama.

    August 15, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Toyin,Austria

    Go on my man Obama, you will carry all state in November and we will celebrate with you here in Austria. GGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOObama.

    August 15, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Rave

    CNN, i think we understand your politics. You desperately want McCain to win in November.
    You first raise the hopes in that poor black man and every black person in America and then start stashing him when it is comming towards the end. This is typical old white politics.
    But, my vote is reserved for him and most White people and others will vote for him in November. Obama will win in November
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 15, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. DR. YES

    iowa is obama country ,now.get used to it repubs.

    August 15, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. The Real Texas Trail Dog!


    August 15, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Barry Soetoro AKA Barrack Obama

    You should name your guys' bus... The Biased Express.

    Your moderators for these posts should be fired. You allow biased racially remarks by anyone that supports Obama. Yet you do not allow a single comment in support of a war hero. Nothing but uneducated trashing of McCain on every post, you allow people to reply with LOL like this an instant messaging service. Get your organization in check. My God what a joke CNN has become.

    Well keep this in your deleted archives... Because I already know this won't see the light of day.

    August 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. maurice

    Just make it clear what you want to hear and Obama will
    say it for you.

    August 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |

    Welcome to the Iowa State Fair CNN. I hope you'll see a lot of enthusiastic support for Senator Obama as you visit with people today. Our State Fair is a great State Fair. . . .

    August 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Phil in KC

    I'm going to try to get ahead of a couple of comments that are bound to be made.
    First, for those who say caucuses are not democratic, as one who has attended caucuses and voted in primaries, let me say that it is an extremely democratic process. The right to vote demands an informed electorate and the caucus process provides that in spades. If you were educated before you walked in, you will be by the time you walk out.
    Second, to those who would diminish the impact of state with a relatively small number of voters, that is exactly why Iowa and New Hampshire are so important. In the big states with a large number of voters, you get wholesale politics. Everything is done via big rallies and media buys. Everything is a sound bite. Iowa and NH, by contrast, are retail politics. The candidates spend time there. The voters get to know them. They hear speeches in small gatherings on a wide range of issues. They get to meet the candidates face to face and, sometimes, one on one. In short, they are in a much better position to accurately evaluate the candidates.
    I support Obama now, yes. But originally, I was hoping for Biden or Dodd. And they didn't make it past Iowa. So this is not prejudice because of my candidate.

    August 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. TWT

    Just keep questions about getting shot down or being a POW and McCain will be alright.

    August 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. sherry for Obama

    I cant believe that Obama doesnt have a larger percentage over McCain.

    Are there really that many idiots out there who would want the same crap we have gone thru these last eight years and actually want more?

    Wake up America!!!
    Vote for change....Change that will bring us out of this mess were in.

    OBAMA 08

    August 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Lisa in Iowa

    "McCain's not about to write off Iowa the way he did in the caucuses."

    The problem, McCain, is that Iowans have written YOU off. If Iowa only matters when you need us, then you don't deserve our votes or our support.

    And for those who pointed out that, in the caucuses, Obama only received the votes 4.7% of the registered voters in Iowa, bear in mind that by that same calculation, McCain only received votes from 0.8% of the registered voters here, ending in 4th place. Doesn't sound to me like enough support to turn this state red again.

    Lisa in Iowa

    Obama/Biden 08

    August 15, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Carl from MI

    Just make it clear what you want to hear and McCain will say it for you,

    ... but ONLY if you donate lots of cash to his campaign!!!

    August 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Joe Kiloz

    Why don't you take the bus and drive it to Chicago public housing where

    Mr. Obama claims huge successes. Please send back some pictures

    and a few interviews of the people who are sooooooo happy to live

    in those urban slums.

    August 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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