On day of caucus, Eli campaigners down to the wire in Iowa

Posted Thursday 5:30 a.m. With just hours to go before the start of the 2008 presidential primary season, Iowa is finally resting up. But for some Yale students, the long day of caucusing to come is the climax of a winter break that has been anything but calm and relaxing.

News reporters have trailed these campaigning Elis since before New Year’s Day. Yet as the 2008 presidential primary season gets underway, several questions linger.

For one, is the early schedule hindering student involvement in the race?

A Students for Rudy co-chair insists it’s not, touting Rudy Giuliani’s fifty-state strategy while other college Republicans also predict that the youth vote will be decisive.

Amy Fields ’11 has been crossing the Mississippi for Obama daily, and Yohannes Abraham ’07, also working for the Illinois Senator, has found himself down to the wire.

For Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, it’s been a struggle to matter — although a chance to pick up some Rocky Road ice cream on the rocky trail. But the speculation persists: Will he drop out Wednesday?

Youth insist they are engaged like no election before, while one News reporter encountered only three Hispanic voters at a caucus orientation session.

Student-favorite Barack Obama hopes for Willie Mays, but gets Dick Cheney as he declares the 2008 election a “defining moment” in history. At his headquarters, a swamp is born and Bobby Gravitz ’05 insists he has found the answer to the nation’s prayers.

Still at the end of the day, the question remains: Is there ‘O’-mentum in Iowa, or ‘no’-mentum?

Although it’s no indication, a News poll showed Obama as the clear winner among undergraduates. So one might therefore wonder why an inflamatory e-mail is making rounds that pins a fake Yale professor against the Harvard graduate Obama. Regardless, Yale professor emeritus and historian Gaddis Smith reminds current Elis in an interview with the News that the winner of the poll is far less important than the fact that in half a century, Yale has transformed from a solidly Republican institution to a largely liberal, libertarian one.

Then there is the less common Eli. For Sarah Coleman ’05, it’s Joe Biden or bust.

Meanwhile, University of New Hampshire students, gearing up for their upcoming primary, chose Obama in a mock election. And in Iowa, student support is skyrocketing for the young candidate.

In West Des Moines, Mike Huckabee offered faith and classic rock, while Bill Clinton wooed voters with memories of ‘90s prosperity.

John Edwards presents himself as a candidate of change, but on second glance, that’s hard for someone who has, in effect, been campaigning for more than four years.

Speaking of the trite, while the mass of international reporters relishes the excitement, others battle boredom.

Throughout, of course, there is the Yale connection that the News’ bloggers areseeking out in Iowa. Well, not quite that one.

Stay tuned to yaledailynews.com throughout the week for on-the-ground primary coverage in Iowa and New Hampshire — focused on the actual Elis helping to drive this unprecedented race to the White House.

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