Thursday, January 3, 2008
Obama Wins Iowa: Next Step Toward Becoming First Black President
In a major touchdown for his campaign, Senator Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in Iowa.
Obama, from Illinois, has taken his most significant step yet toward becoming the nation's first black president with this win. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were in a close tie for second.
Obama was joined by Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and ordained Baptist minister, who was an equally surprising winner on the Republican side. Huckabee defeated front-runner Mitt Romney easier than expected, raising more eyebrows on the Republican side.
Both Huckabee and Obama rode grassroots campaigns to defeat their wealthier and more established rivals. The 2008 presidential campaign is considered to be the most wide open campaign in nearly 50 years, with neither a president or vice president running for the nation's highest office.
Although Iowa is a state small in stature, a win there is considered to be a tremendous boost to a campaign. The candidate can then claim to be the front-runner and has an easier time getting new votes and contributions.
Hillary Clinton and her camp are now back peddling to find ways to slow down the strength of the Obama campaign. Obama's work with Oprah Winfrey and other black leaders has cut into Clinton's base. Obama has also proven himself to be a more charismatic candidate and a better fund raiser than Clinton, nearly matching her dollar for dollar with a smaller number of political connections in Washington.
By winning Iowa, Obama is in a prime position as he moves into the races in New Hampshire and South Carolina. More half the voters in South Carolina are black, giving him a tremendous edge.
Many African-Americans had been afraid to support Obama because they felt that Clinton had the greatest chance of winning the presidency. That tide is slowly turning.
"Now that I know he has a chance to win, I am not going to vote for Clinton," says Dewhite Scott, a supporter of Obama. Many others are echoing this sentiment.