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McCain, Clinton Win Big Endorsement in Iowa


Don, Senator Clinton's camp must have been pleased with The Des Moines Register endorsement. I mean, she's in a pretty tight three-way race there.

DON GONYEA: Here's the senator.


HILLARY CLINTON: Who is ready to be president? And who is ready, willing and able on day one to do the job that we need done.

SEABROOK: Don, did you hear any response from Barack Obama or his campaign? I mean, he's actually ahead of Clinton at least a little bit in some of those Iowa polls.

GONYEA: They make the same argument that they've been making since day one that his experience as a community organizer, as a state legislator, is all very, very relevant. The other thing, too, is that they found a lot they like in this endorsement even though, ultimately, The Des Moines Register endorses Hillary Clinton. There is plenty of praise for Barack Obama in this endorsement. So they're sending up the quotes that they like and e-mails to reporters.

SEABROOK: Hmm. What's the significance of The Des Moines Register endorsing John McCain? I mean, he's polling in the single digits in Iowa. Do Iowa Republicans really look to The Des Moines Register for guidance?

GONYEA: And also, the endorsement speaks to Mike Huckabee who is now leading in Iowa by a sizeable amount. But it seems to be saying, too, that he is perhaps not as serious enough of a candidate.


SEABROOK: Unidentified Man: Two former governors, two good family men, both pro-life, both support a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. The difference: Mitt Romney stood up and vetoed in-state tuition for illegal aliens, opposed driver's licenses for illegals. Mike Huckabee? Supported in- state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants.


SEABROOK: Hmm. Pretty tough talk there, Don. Do you think...

GONYEA: Indeed. The gloves are really off there. And you can see it in this ad. A few weeks back, everybody was ignoring Mike Huckabee. He was just one of those also runs down in the pack. So Mitt Romney, who always expected to do really well here, has worked here hard and has made plenty of visits here, really, really does need to go after Huckabee in a very aggressive way. We're seeing in that ad and we're seeing it in speeches as well.

SEABROOK: Hmm. The plot twists and turns. NPR's Don Gonyea in Council Bluffs, Iowa, thanks very much.

GONYEA: To be continued. Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.