The results are in: On the Democratic side, it’s Obama in first with Edwards and Clinton bunched at second and third. For the Republicans, it's Huckabee well ahead of Romney with McCain and Thompson tied for third.
From our perspective, the big winner were the people of Iowa. Caucus goers braved the icy side streets and sidewalks on this mid-winter's night and turned out in huge numbers compared to four years ago. And they wanted change from the direction of the current Administration. The precinct 51 and 52 caucuses we attended on the west side of Des Moines had nearly doubled the size of their caucuses from 4 years ago. Well over 210,000 Iowans were caucusing for the Democrats tonight, compared to 125,000 in the hotly contested caucus four years ago.
Another big winner were the candidates who have embraced action on global warming. All three leading Democrats and the leading Republican have advocated capping greenhouse gas emissions -- a clear repudiation of the Bush position. Even John McCain, who is a long time supporter of action on global warming, exceeded expectations by finishing in a virtual tie for third despite spending little time or resources here in Iowa. Mitt Romney, who reneged on the regional greenhouse gas initiative he started with fellow Republican Governor George Pataki, finished second despite heavily outspending his opponents. Fred Thompson, who openly mocked the issue of global warming on his radio program earlier this year, has to be disappointed with his weak showing.
The people of Iowa have been great hosts. Time and time again — especially tonight — they have shown their commitment to action on global warming. As Paul Tewes, state director for the victorious Obama campaign told us months ago, the biggest surprise of the campaign for him was that no matter where Obama went in Iowa, rural and urban, young and old, blue collar, white collar, retirees and students — at every town hall, Iowans were asking about global warming. Tonight, their message came through when Obama reiterated his call for action on climate change and freedom from “the tyranny of oil” in his victory speech.
Now it is on to New Hampshire, where earlier this year over 150 town halls voted for resolutions urging the candidates to address global warming. And LCV will be there.