On a calm Friday morning, when much of Iowa still was sleeping off its caucus-night hangover, "Dr. Vote" hit the streets on an urgent mission.
John Olsen knew he didn't have much time.
Besides his family minivan, among the few vehicles on the roads of downtown Des Moines were airport-bound taxicabs and rented moving vans.
Finally, the circus was leaving town.
Rising Democratic star Barack Obama continues to move up in polls for Tuesday's New Hampshire primary while one-time frontrunner Hillary Clinton is sliding downward and former second place holder John Edwards is sinking fast.
With two days to go Obama has erased Clinton's one-time formidable lead and pulled into a statistical dead heat.
"We are seeing clear movement in Obama's direction and away from Hillary Clinton," pollster John Zogby told Reuters. "There isn't much time for her to regroup here."
Fred Dalton Thompson may be an actor (of sorts) but he is not a good enough actor to convince anyone with a functioning brain he still has a shot at the Republican Presidential nomination.
After the one-term former Senator and sometimes actor turned candidate eeked out a third place finish just barely ahead of John McCain in Iowa, Thompson headed home to McLean, Virginia and not directly to New Hampshire like the other candidates.
In politics, they call it "Big Mo," the momentum that comes from a win and the opportunity to take that momentum into the next primary.
Both Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee left Iowa with "Big Mo" driving their campaigns. Polls taken in New Hampshire right after the Iowa caucuses show both candidates gaining and the campaign fortunes of New Hampshire front runners Hillary Clinton and John McCain sliding.
Republican Presidential candidate Fred Dalton Thompson, out of cash and lagging in the polls, will stay in the Presidential race through at least the New Hampshire primary even though some campaign aides say he should give up his faltering run for President.
Thompson returned home to McLean Thursday while other Presidential contenders headed direct to New Hampshire from Iowa. Aides say he will work the phone to try and raise much-needed campaign cash and try to also cash in on free media appearances.
J. Cofer Black is GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's chief weapon against Islamo-fascism. The former CIA official chairs Romney's Counterterrorism Policy Advisory Group. Also, the 9/11 Commission, the Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11 and the CIA's inspector general all condemn him for dropping the ball before Sept. 11, 2001. Black's spot in Romney's brain trust raises grave doubts about the former Massachusetts governor's national-security judgment.
There's only one solution to the wholly disproportionate emphasis on Iowa: Convince the voters of New Hampshire to punish the winners of those caucuses.
Don't vote for them, people, or write their names in for one of those oddball elected New England offices like selectman in charge of the town dump.
There have been attempts to spread all the attention Iowa and New Hampshire get to new venues, like, say, the other 48 states, but to no avail.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, establishing themselves as the early frontrunners for the Democratic and Republican Presidential nominations and handing two earlier favorites crushing losses.
Mitt Romney, who outspent other Republicans 10-1, will finish a distant second while former Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton in third place, close behind former Senator John Edwards.
Fred Dalton Thompson, the sometimes politician, sometimes actor and last to enter the Republican race for President, will be the first one to drop out after tonight’s Iowa caucus if he finishes poorly and all indications show that he will come in near the bottom.
Republican insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue Thompson will withdraw before the New Hampshire primary and endorse John McCain.
“He’s finished,” said a longtime GOP consultant working in Iowa. “His campaign was finished before it even began.”
Pat Ricutti is a diehard Republican voter, but he laments what he's hearing from GOP presidential contenders about illegal immigration.
The Fresno fruit and grape farmer gave money to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani last February at a fundraiser. He said he won't be giving him or any other candidate a dime more at this point, though, until he starts hearing alternatives to calling for millions of illegal immigrants to be shipped off or pressured to leave voluntarily.