Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Harkin says many Democrats are undecided"

Des Moines Register:
A large number of Iowa Democrats remain undecided about whom to back in the Jan. 3 presidential caucuses, and some surprises could be in store, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa predicted Friday.
The indecision that he senses even among longtime activists could be a boost for trailing candidates like Chris Dodd, Joe Biden or Bill Richardson, the longtime senior Democrat said in an interview.

"You never know - someone like a Dodd could get a lot more than the polls show, or a Biden, or a Richardson," said Harkin, who has served in the Senate for decades with Dodd and Biden. "Any of those second three - there could be some surprises there."

The many polls being conducted in the state are likely accurate in showing Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards fighting for the lead, Harkin said. But which will come out on top is unclear and it is an understatement to call the race fluid, he said.

Harkin has not endorsed a candidate and he said he likely will not even attend his local caucus in Cumming. In the interview, he declined to name any favorites.

His wife, Ruth Harkin, who has endorsed Clinton and campaigned for her, will caucus for Clinton, he said.

Sen. Harkin said he plans to stay home because Ruth stayed home in 2004 while he caucused for Howard Dean, whom he had endorsed that year.

In a possible indication he wouldn't have backed Clinton, he said he is abstaining in 2008 out of respect for his wife's work on behalf of the New York senator.

"I thought that was very big of (Ruth) to not go to the caucus where I was and maybe be a split with me or something like that," he said. "I'm going to be very respectful of that and return the favor this time."

Harkin said the sense of deep indecision he finds among Democrats is a result of having too many good candidates. Many might look at the second-tier candidates "and say, 'I wish they were higher up,' " he said. "I hear no negatives about Dodd or Biden."

He said he and Ruth had dinner with a group of seven other couples in Iowa last weekend, all of them active Democrats, and just two - including Ruth - had committed to a candidate.

"I was shocked," the senator said.

No comments: