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Only in America. After Iowa, the leading Presidential candidates are:


  • An African-American man.  The real thing, with a father from Kenya. 


  • A Southern Baptist preacher with a sense of humor and a populist streak.


Both Obama and Huckabee get two prizes for winning: a big boost and a big bullseye.  Put on your Kevlar, gentlemen.


Who attacks Obama first, Clinton or Edwards?  They face the same challenge: beat Obama somewhere.


Now Romney gets tag-teamed by McCain in New Hampshire.  Mitt is toast.


Here are my other Iowa awards:


  • Best Speech: Obama, hands down.  An elegant, eloquent address.  Delivered with cool passion.  Three letters: JFK.


  • Lamest Talking Points: At 12:30 a.m., Clinton’s campaign sent this out: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”  True, but trite.  As programmed and predictable as the candidate herself.


  • Worst Reach: Edwards, prompted by Elizabeth, thanking Iowa for second place.  Yeah, thanks a lot, Iowa.


  • Best Interviewee: Huckabee has an affable, aw-shucks style that turneth aside a harsh word.


  • Biggest Villain: CEOs.  All the Democrats attacked them.  So did Huckabee.  He said “people think I resemble a guy who works beside them, not the guy who laid them off.”


  • Best Choreography: Obama, again.  Don’t the other campaigns know that the worst backdrop is a bunch of sad, sweaty, shifting supporters pretending to be happy?  Especially a towering ex-President.  Obama was alone at the podium, with the crowd at a distance behind him.  He looked like a leader, not a politician.


  • Whitest Teeth: Did you check out the choppers on Chuck Norris?  Were they reflecting off Huckabee’s bald spot?


  • Most Overdone Rant: Me.  For the last time (until 2011), how can we let one-tenth of one percent of America’s voters – in a place like Iowa – decide our choice for President? 


But thanks, Iowa, for the entertainment.  Now, on to New Hampshire.  And don’t get carried away yet.  As Hillary would say, it’s a marathon….


A lot can happen: a scandal, a stumble, a stupid remark.  Or, like Howard Dean, a scream.  An overseas crisis.  A domestic event.  And don’t even bring up 1968.


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