Originally published on January 21, 2004.
“It was a sad night,” said former gubernatorial press secretary Sue Allen as she described her boss’ third-place finish in Monday’s Iowa caucuses. As everyone knows by now, Sen. John Kerry won. Sen. John Edwards finished second. Howard Deanwas a distant, disappointing third.
“I’m surprised they went to John Kerry,” said Sweet Sue.
Many people familiar with Iowa, however, are not. In fact, the hot bumper sticker in Iowa last week, said Des Moines Register reporterTom Beaumont, was one that read, “Dated Dean, Married Kerry.”
So what happened to Howard Dean’s historic campaign for the White House Monday? Why did so many Iowa Democrats reject the once-glorious front-runner from the Green Mountains of Vermont?
Obviously, the Dean campaign realized something was wrong as they hit Iowa’s homestretch. What else explains the need to rent a Lear jet to fl y Ho-Ho’s beloved wife, Dr.Judith Steinberg, to Iowa Sunday to make her first campaign appearance since the June kickoff in Burlington?
And what explains the fact that 75 percent of the Iowa folks who attended Monday night’s Democratic caucuses identified themselves as “antiwar” and then went ahead and voted for two candidates — Kerry and Edwards — who supported the war?
Beaumont of the Register told Seven Days that “Iowa people who liked Dean early were loyal, but many others saw him as a loose cannon, too edgy, even though they did not disagree with what he said.”