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Over the weekend, 2020 presidential campaigning in Iowa seemed to shift into a higher gear, as 19 Democratic hopefuls visited the state for its Democratic Party Hall of Fame dinner. Former Vice President Joe Biden was notably absent from the event. He leads recent state polls, but four other candidates have joined him in distinguishing themselves from the larger pack. Lisa Desjardins reports.
With eight months before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, the largest group of presidential hopefuls descended on the Hawkeye State this weekend.
As Lisa Desjardins reports, this will be a decisive week in the 2020 campaign.
In Iowa this weekend, a shift into high gear, the campaign signs, the colors, the chants, all of it cresting and competing in Cedar Rapids.
JDK is the candidate for me!
Nineteen presidential candidates were there for the state Democratic Party Hall of Fame dinner, but, first, they faced off in mini-rallies outside.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker:
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.:
We have got the determination. We have the love that it takes to win the nomination and beat Donald Trump!
It was a fight for visuals. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg played the keyboard, and many campaigns battled on social media, trying to prove they are organized and, above all, excited.
I-O-W-A, Elizabeth Warren all the way!
Inside the dinner, the long line of candidates was limited to five minutes each. Some, like California Senator Kamala Harris, came with a broad campaign message.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:
I am here to ask for your support, because I am prepared to make the case for America and to prosecute the case against Donald Trump.
Others focused on a single signature issue, like Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.
Goy. Jay Inslee:
We need to stand up to defeat climate change. We need to save our kids from the threat of asthma. We got to save our farmers from the floods. Iowa is on the front line of disaster. And it is on the cutting edge of technology.
For Montana Governor Steve Bullock, it was campaign finance.
Gov. Steve Bullock:
In this post-Citizens United world, where money equals speech, corporations have the same right as people. Until we address the fact that the rules are now written for those who have the biggest checkbooks, we're not going to solve any of the problems you Have heard about.
This week, the whole field is steaming toward another landmark, when Democrats determine out which of the 23 candidates have met the criteria for the party's first presidential debates.
Three candidates, Bullock, plus Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam and Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, are still in doubt. They have not polled highly enough or raised enough money, this as Iowa Democrats seem to see the field in two groups.
A new Iowa poll from CNN, The Des Moines Register and Mediacom found five candidates soaking up the most support, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, plus Buttigieg and Harris. Everyone else is at 2 percent or below.
Two other notable findings from this poll of Iowa Democrats, a sizable chunk, 25 percent, say a candidate being white would be more of an advantage against President Trump in a general election matchup. And 19 percent say a candidate being a woman would be more of a disadvantage.
One of the few candidates missing from last weekend's Iowa action? Biden. He was attending his granddaughter's high school graduation, but he and President Trump will be back in the Hawkeye State tomorrow.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.
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