Marc Cooper in Iowa: Zero Hour
Des Moines, Iowa -- Barack Obama capped off his quest to win the statewide Democratic presidential caucuses by emotionally exhorting the youthful core of his supporters to make sure they show up at tonight's prolonged exercise in voting.
"In a few hours you will have a chance to make history, Iowa," the hoarse Illinois senator said at a sometimes tumultuous rally Wednesday night that filled every square inch of a local high school gym with at least 2000 in attendance. "You will have the chance to prove the pundits wrong."
"They said you're too disappointed about the politics of the past to turn out and caucus for the politics of the future," Obama said to the markedly youthful crowd that stood and excitedly cheered on several occasions, chanting O-ba-ma!. "Tomorrow you will have the chance to say 'yes we can!'" he shouted to the audience.
Zero hour for Obama and for all of the other Democratic and Republican hopefuls sounds Thursday at 6:30 p.m. when Iowans interested in choosing a nominee must show up at a local caucus site and literally stand for their candidate. In spite of the intense retail politicking that ripples through Iowa for months before the caucus, turn-out is usually low. In 2004, barely 125,000 Democrats came out to stand for a candidate.
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The most authoritative of Iowa polls conducted by the Des Moines Register shows Obama going into Thursday night's caucus with a hefty seven and eight point lead respectively over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. But that result is leveraged on a projection that an unprecedented wave of young and first time caucusers will turn out.
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