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Shields and Brooks Mull Iowa Election Push, Baseball Scandal

The final Republican and Democratic debates took place in Iowa this week ahead of the state's Jan. 3 caucus, a spending fight continued in Congress and a report brought new focus on the use of steroids in professional baseball. Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the events of the week.

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    Mark, first, on the Democrats, what are the polls and your reporting saying about what's happening in Iowa?

  • MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:

    I think, Jim, with the caveat that it is incredibly difficult to poll, because only 125,000 people participated in this process in 2004, so who shows up, as Judy just described it, in…


    The polls don't mean that much. The polls don't mean that much, right?


    That's right. I mean, you've got a two-hour commitment. It's an incredible experience standing up in front of neighbors, friends, in-laws and telling whom you're for. So that's tough always to figure out who the poll is.

    But I'd say there's no question in the state itself that there's a feeling that Barack Obama has moved and the Hillary Clinton campaign, while still very competitive, has stalled. And John Edwards, in spite of the fact that so much attention is focused in the reporting on the Obama-Clinton race, John Edwards is still very much in the hunt.



    Do you agree with that, David?

  • DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times:

    I basically do.


    Still a three-person race?


    Absolutely, and I agree with Mark's reading of a different momentum. The only thing I'd add is that, not only in Iowa, but in New Hampshire Obama is now very close to Hillary Clinton.

    To the extent that you think if Obama does win Iowa, he'll also win New Hampshire. He also has a very good shot in South Carolina. And so racking up a whole bunch of early states now seems at least a possibility.