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Hawkeye State

November 6, 2012 | By Seema Mehta
President Obama won Iowa's six electoral votes Tuesday, holding on to the state that launched his presidential bid four years ago, according to exit polls for the Associated Press and news networks. His win over Mitt Romney was slimmer than the president's margin last time, reflecting how the once-euphoric support for him in the state has dimmed. Iowa's half-dozen electoral votes are meager compared with other battleground states such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia, yet both campaigns considered the Hawkeye State a priority as they raced to assemble the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
November 19, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
The Republican presidential candidates most actively courting Iowa voters are set to speak Saturday afternoon at a gathering of social conservatives, one of the biggest cattle calls remaining before the Jan. 3 caucuses. Saturday's Thanksgiving Family Forum is organized by a leading Iowa conservative, Bob Vander Plaats, and his group, the Family Leader. The format is meant to mimic the holiday dinner, with six candidates -- Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum -- gathered around a table participating in a discussion moderated by Frank Luntz.
Some people use their closets and drawers for storage. Professional clown Terry Knutson prefers his bathtub. That's where he keeps his shoe boxes, folded paper grocery bags and 29 partial rolls of toilet paper. The clutter, which extends throughout his Mission Hills property, is not part of Knutson's Clownzo the Clown act. But it has played a starring role in the real-life predicament of Knutson and his neighbors for more than a decade.
November 1, 2011 | By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
Much of the Republican presidential field gathered here Tuesday to discuss how to improve the nation's economy. But what was most notable was who skipped the event — Iowa front-runners Mitt Romney and Herman Cain. The two men have staked their candidacies on their business resumes, arguing that their tenures as corporate chiefs make them perfectly suited to lead a nation in economic distress. So the forum by the National Assn. of Manufacturers — co-moderated by the state's Republican governor — would seem like an ideal audience.
September 29, 2011 | By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
After swarming Iowa before the August straw poll, presidential candidates have largely fled in favor of fundraising and events elsewhere. But their campaigns are working furiously as the winter caucuses loom. The campaigns are snatching up the most coveted activists and endorsements and signing up leaders for each of the state's 99 counties and the nearly 1,800 precincts. These workers, mostly volunteers, are charged with persuading the more than 100,000 voters expected on caucus night to support their candidate, and minding the details that make victory possible, like arranging rides on a freezing winter night.
May 15, 2012 | By Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
DES MOINES - Returning to the state that launched Barack Obama to the presidency, Mitt Romney on Tuesday accused his rival of carelessly driving the country into "a financial crisis of both debt and spending that threaten what it means to be an American. " The presumptive GOP nominee's stop in the Hawkeye State, which he largely ignored before its first-in-the-nation caucuses in January, reflected the importance Iowa will play in selecting the next president. Though there has been little recent public polling in Iowa, both sides clearly see a competitive race here - made clear by the fact that Romney's visit came three days after one by the vice president's wife, Jill Biden.
October 30, 2006 | Jenifer Warren, Times Staff Writer
Shortly after 8 each evening, David DenAdel kisses his wife and three kids goodbye and leaves his home in the peaceful suburb of Clive. A half-hour later, he pulls up at an unfurnished rental in a scruffy pocket of Des Moines, one of the few spots in the region where he can legally spend the night. His children, ages 3 to 6, "think maybe I'm camping, but they really aren't sure," said DenAdel, 37, who pays $650 a month for the rental and $1,500 a month for the mortgage on his home.
The New Iowa starts here, where C Street intersects Highway 30 and redemption fans out as far as the eye can see: Plastics, biotechnology and distribution, financial services and telecommunications and, of course, cornfields. Knocked to its knees in the 1980s farm crisis--when upward of 10,000 good blue-collar jobs bled off in short order--Iowa's No. 2 city has clawed its way back with a vengeance. Today, says the U.S. Census Bureau, Cedar Rapids is the star of the Rust Belt turnaround.
With polls indicating that his victory in Louisiana is boosting his prospects elsewhere, Patrick J. Buchanan hammered away Thursday at his hard-line themes of economic nationalism--hoping to repeat in the prairies his upset along the bayous.
January 5, 2012 | By Mark Mellman
It has become fashionable of late to denigrate the importance of Iowa's caucuses, and even New Hampshire's primary, by suggesting neither has been very successful at picking party nominees. Naysayers note that only two of the last five Republican winners in Iowa garnered the party's nomination, while only three in five New Hampshire victors became the party's general-election standard-bearer. However, such analyses err by missing the dramatic joint impact of these two contests. Since 1976, when proliferating primaries and caucuses became the basis for selecting convention delegates, every single nominee but one, in both parties, won either Iowa or New Hampshire.
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