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    Iowa Caucus Opens US Presidential Nomination Voting

    US Presidential Hopefuls Make Last Push for Votes in Iowai
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    Jeff Custer
    February 01, 2016 8:48 PM
    Both Republican and Democratic candidates are making last-minute appeals to voters in the central state of Iowa before the first U.S. contest to pick presidential nominees gets underway Monday evening local time. Jeff Custer has more in this report.
    (Watch related video of VOA's Jeff Custer)
    Ken BredemeierWilliam Gallo

    The farm state of Iowa opens voting Monday in the first U.S. contest to pick Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, leading to November's national election.

    The two poll-leading Republican presidential contenders - billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz - and several other candidates headed to more rallies as voting neared.

    Election caucuses were set for 1,681 schools, firehouses and community centers throughout the state. A predicted snowstorm across Iowa is not expected to arrive until after voting has ended.

    The top Democratic contenders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, are locked in a tight contest for their party's nod in the first of a long series of state-by-state contests.

    Candidates Final Pitches Before Iowa Caucusi
    X
    February 01, 2016 8:21 PM


    Clinton is confident of a win over Sanders, the self-described independent Democrat socialist.

    "I know how to do this, and I'm ready," she told CNN Monday. "There is just a lot of excitement and energy. I'm urging everybody to come out and caucus tonight to be part of this unique American process."

    Sanders urged his supporters to get out and caucus. ``We've got a tie ballgame - that's where we are,'' Sanders told volunteers and supporters in Des Moines Monday. ``We will struggle tonight if the voter turnout is low. That's a fact.''

    Trump, a political novice facing his first election, told one interviewer he is "a little bit nervous" about the outcome. He exhorted supporters at a rally that even if they are sick, they need to get to the caucuses to vote for him.

    "Get out of bed," he urged. "You've got to go."

    Trump maintains a slight lead over Cruz, who appears to have made several missteps in the lead-up to the Iowa voting.

    • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by (from second from left) wife, Melania; daughter, Ivanka; her husband, Jared Kushner; speaks during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.
    • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes photos with workers at her campaign office in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.
    • Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, carries his daughter Caroline, 7, as he arrives at Green County Community Center for a campaign event in Jefferson, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.
    • U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters from his bus outside his campaign's Iowa headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.
    • U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio greets patrons at a restaurant in Clive, Iowa. Feb. 1, 2016.
    • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.
    • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hugs her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea Clinton, during a rally at the Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 31, 2016.
    • U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (second from left) prays before lunch with supporters at Drake Diner in Des Moines, Iowa. Feb. 1, 2016.
    • Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, talks to supporters after a campaign event at Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.


    Iowa, geographically in the central part of the United States, is not a large state and at most a few hundred thousand voters are expected to take part in the caucuses.

    But with its status as the first to vote in the lengthy presidential campaign, the Iowa results will give U.S. political pundits, a vast array of commentators on television and radio shows, newspapers, magazines and Internet blogs, a chance to offer a myriad of opinions on the outcome late Monday and in the coming week, before the next state, New Hampshire in the northeastern United States, votes February 9.

    WATCH: VOA Snapshot of Iowa Race - Voters

    Iowa Voters Are Ready to Be Heard Through Caucus Votesi
    X
    February 01, 2016 3:31 AM
    Before caucus voting begins Monday, Iowa voters are talking about the economy, immigration and border security, as well as their feelings of which candidate will better take care of their needs in Washington. VOA reporters Jim Malone and Kathryn Gypson have more from Des Moines, Iowa.

    Opinion polls in Iowa showed a tantalizingly close race for both the Republican and Democratic Party nominations, with non-establishment candidates continuing to show resiliency.
     
    Final sprint
     
    Candidates in both parties made a final sprint through Iowa Sunday, holding events in every corner of the state, stepping up attacks on rivals and making last-minute appeals to key voter groups.
     
    Sunday morning TV network news shows also were a key platform. On ABC’s This Week, Trump tore into his main challenger Cruz, calling him a “total liar” and a “nasty guy.”
     
    Trump also continued to raise questions about whether Cruz is eligible to run for president, because he was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother.
     
    Cruz shot back, challenging Trump’s conservative credentials on issues such as health care, and accusing Trump of running an immature campaign.
     
    Cruz’s chances to win the Iowa caucuses are seen as slightly diminished after he suffered a shaky debate performance last week. His campaign also was on the defensive after sending out a campaign flier that appeared to threaten voters if they did not show up to vote.
     
    Trump and Cruz are both trying to portray themselves as political outsiders, and are competing to attract evangelical Christians who comprise a large percentage of Iowa Republicans.

    WATCH: VOA Snapshot of Iowa Race - Republicans

    VOA Snapshot of the Iowa Race - Republicansi
    X
    February 01, 2016 12:57 AM
    VOA Snapshot of the Iowa Race - Republicans


    Sanders attacks Clinton on emails
     
    Meanwhile, Sanders showed an increased willingness to raise questions about Clinton’s use of a personal email server during her time as secretary of state, from 2009 to 2013.
     
    After months of refusing to make the issue a point of attack on the campaign trail, Sanders told CNN that the controversy is a “very serious issue.”
     
    The U.S. State Department, which has been releasing Clinton’s emails in batches, on Friday said it would not publish 22 Clinton emails because they contained top secret classified information. Clinton's critics say her use of the private email server put U.S. national security at risk, and may even have violated some laws.
     
    Clinton has said she did nothing wrong and that the emails were not marked classified at the time she received or sent them. On Sunday, Clinton repeated her stance the emails should be made public.

    WATCH: VOA Snapshot of Iowa Race - Democrats
     

    VOA Snapshot of the Iowa Race - Democratsi
    X
    February 01, 2016 12:45 AM
    VOA Snapshot of the Iowa Race - Democrats

    Another debate planned
     
    The Sanders and Clinton campaigns on Sunday also reached an agreement with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold additional debates, something many in the party had wanted.
     
    The DNC says the next officially sanctioned debate will be held Thursday in New Hampshire, where Sanders has a substantial double-digit lead over Clinton.
     
    But for now, all eyes are on Iowa.
     

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 02, 2016 6:59 AM
    Did Ted Cruz win? Hardly. He got 8 delegates to the Republican Convention, Trump got 7. Fewer than 100,00 Iowans voted in a state where the population is 3 million and there are probably at least a million possible voters. Cruz beat Trump by 3600 votes. I suspect the results will be very different in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

    The Koch Brothers and their organization already have about $900 million amassed in a war chest to defeat Trump. Problem, the harder the fight, the stronger he gets. They remind voters that they are the ones buying the politicians and those politicians have thrown 99% of Americans under a bus to make the richest 1% even richer. It is the 1% who insisted on removing the laws that prevented another great depression and speculated in what became a gambling casino to bankrupt the country. I think Cruz can be bought by them. Trump can't.

    It will be interesting to see what happens if during this election cycle, Hillary Clinton is indicted for her violations of national security laws.

    by: MarkPl from: USA
    February 01, 2016 8:41 PM
    Hillary Clinton is a warmonger.

    Hillary Clinton lost her legitimacy when she said she supports a no-fly zone in Syria. Economically costly, technically almost impossible, politically wrong for creating a safe heaven for AQ Groups and siding with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and their killer proxies and militarily useless for the civil war in Syria.

    An indication that she's in the pocket of the Turks and is willing to spend national resources to serve other countries' wrongful wishes.

    For Bernie Sanders, this can be a HUGE differentiating point:

    - Bernie Sanders will save resources, be it our sons and daughters and money and he will bring peace. Sanders has already proven that he's anti-war.

    - Clinton will wage wars for the benefit of other countries, and there's proof she's willing to do it. (e.g. her decision on a no-fly zone in Syria) or her vote to invade Iraq in 2003.

    The American society needs peace not another war by Saudi/Turkey puppets like Clinton.

    We need Bernie Sanders to win.

    by: Anonymous
    February 01, 2016 3:32 PM
    We need to stop looking at America as a country, and more as a massive business enterprise, which is what we have always been.

    Teddy Roosevelt said it best; "The business of America, is business; the sooner the American people accept this, the better off we will all be."

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