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For 2008 the goal is win, win, win

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December 31, 2007

A bit of bubbly, a few verses of Auld Lang Syne and candidates, candidates and more candidates. It’s New Year’s Eve in Iowa and New Hampshire.

With the caucuses and primary just days away, many presidential hopefuls are spending every precious minute campaigning — even if it’s while voters and the rest of the world ring in the New Year with celebrations, not politics, on their mind. The Democratic and Republican contests in Iowa, on Thursday, and New Hampshire, on Jan. 8, are essentially dead heats.

No candidate can afford to take time off, except perhaps for a sip of champagne.

The Clintons — Hillary and Bill — each will attend two events in Iowa then meet for a “New Year, New Beginnings Celebration” in Des Moines.

Among the other Democratic candidates, John Edwards planned to celebrate with staff, supporters and undecided caucus-goers at his campaign offices in Mason City, Iowa. Likewise, Barack Obama will wrap a long day of campaigning at an evening rally in Ames, Iowa.

Bill Richardson planned to join volunteers and supporters at a party featuring three local bands at a hotel in Des Moines, where he will lead the countdown to midnight and offer a New Year’s toast.

“Our goal is to have a little fun and charge up and energize supporters for the mad dash to caucus night,” said Richardson spokesman Tom Reynolds.

Chris Dodd, who has relocated to Iowa temporarily, also planned to celebrate with family, friends, supporters and staff at a party featuring local musicians at a restaurant and bar in Dubuque. “But there’s no rest for the weary because his first event on January 1 is at 8 a.m.,” said spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan.

Democrat Joe Biden has quieter plans: dinner with his family in Des Moines.

In New Hampshire, Democrat Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth, will ring in 2008 with a party and concert at a community access television station in Manchester, N.H. The event, “Resolution for Peace: A New Year’s Concert for the Community,” is open to the public and will be televised live. Kucinich also will focus on the plight of the area’s homeless.

Among Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain will cap a long day of campaigning at a New Year’s Eve house party at the Concord, N.H., home of Chuck Douglas, a former congressman and New Hampshire state Supreme Court justice.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet, will host an early evening celebration for several hundred friends, staff and supporters at the Wakonda Country Club in Des Moines.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was spending the last night of 2007 in Iowa with his wife and sons, his campaign said. Aides said he will go to the Hy-Vee Hall with his grandson Parker for family friendly New Year’s Eve activities. Romney will round out the evening with a late-night dinner celebration with his wife, Ann, his son, Craig, and Craig’s wife, Mary. The rest of the family arrives later in the week.

Rudy Giuliani was mum about his plans. It’s a “private celebration,” said a spokesman for the former New York mayor. That rules out Times Square at midnight.

Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s plans were not immediately available.