Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
All eyes still on No. 1, Iowa says
The presidential voting rush may only solidify the smaller states' me-first power.
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Staff Writer
Published August 24, 2007
TAMA, Iowa - Sorry all you political junkies in Florida, New York, California, Michigan and any other state maneuvering to have more say in picking the presidential nominees.
Your opinion on the presidential contenders simply matters less than the view of Judy Huff, a retired pharmacy worker from Grinnell, Iowa. Your state leaders may not admit that, but most of the candidates and their political pros know it, and so does the earnest Huff, who makes a point of meeting as many presidential candidates as possible.
"Yes, we get sick of all the phone calls from the campaigns, but we take this responsibility very seriously," said Huff, waiting recently to see Republican Mitt Romney in a rural coffee shop. "It's very fun to be able to see so many candidates in person and learn all we can learn first-hand, instead of relying on newspapers and TV to educate us."
For all the mad scrambling by states, including Florida, to snatch early presidential attention from Iowa and New Hampshire, there's no sign yet that Hawkeye or Granite staters are losing influence. Far from it.
"All this front-loading does is magnify the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire - as long as they're first," said Mark Mellman, the pollster in 2004 for John Kerry, who won the Iowa caucuses and rode that momentum to the nomination. "A win in Iowa creates massive visibility. Historically, half the news coverage of the whole primary comes out of Iowa and New Hampshire."
But this time, the primary calendar is on the verge of imploding as state after state maneuvers to schedule its primary earlier than the next.
On Saturday in Washington, Florida Democrats are bracing for the possibility that the Democratic National Committee will strip the state of all its delegates to the national convention as punishment for scheduling a primary earlier than Feb. 5. Last spring, lawmakers in Tallahassee moved the state's primary date from March to Jan. 29.
Meanwhile, about 20 states have moved their primaries to Feb. 5, which has been dubbed "tsunami Tuesday." South Carolina Republicans moved their primary to Jan. 19. And to complicate matters, Michigan state senators voted on Wednesday to schedule their primary for Jan. 15. Michigan's state House has yet to consider the measure, but if it passes it probably would push Iowa and New Hampshire leaders to set still earlier elections.
"What happens in Iowa and New Hampshire really affects what happens in South Carolina and then Florida," said David Johnson, former executive director of the Florida GOP. "As long as Iowa and New Hampshire are in the front, they're always going to matter because the national media will be there."
Virginia-based Republican pollster Jon McHenry said the prospect of Iowa moving its caucuses into December, which it might if more states move earlier into January, could cost Iowa influence. If the caucuses are lost amid the holidays, or if voters and candidates had a long period between the Iowa caucuses and the next contest, momentum from Iowa would diminish.
"If they got pushed into going into December it would make it a slightly glorified straw poll," McHenry said.
A longtime pact
Since the mid 1980s, Iowa and New Hampshire have held to a strained bargain where Iowa holds the first caucuses - basically neighborhood meetings of party activists across the state - and New Hampshire holds the first primary in the presidential nominating season.
Those states don't always pick the ultimate nominee, but they help prove viability and drive momentum. They also typically sink a candidate who performs poorly in both.
The value and the weakness of the early state balloting is that Iowa and New Hampshire have small populations. That means Judy Huff can expect to meet the candidates herself, but it also means a relatively small group of voters has a very big say.
Consider: In 2004, about 125,000 Democrats turned out for the hotly contested Iowa caucus that vaulted Kerry into the nomination. Jim Davis got more Democratic votes in his failed bid for governor last year in Hillsborough County alone.
That's why states like Florida and Michigan, with big, diverse populations, have argued that they have a rightful place on the early presidential calendar.
And that's also why allies of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton see the front-loading of the 2008 primary calendar as particularly beneficial to them - especially in the case of Florida, where each leads the early polls.
Florida's vote falls just before Feb. 5, which is going to be a virtual national primary day with big states like New Jersey, New York, and California scheduled. Well-financed front-runners benefit most from a system like this.
But even with a loaded up schedule of big states, that doesn't mean Giuliani or anyone can afford poor showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
"The history of primaries shows that it's very hard to hold onto your base of support if you're losing," Mellman said. "A strategy that counts on holding your base after losing Iowa and New Hampshire is a fatally flawed strategy."
Candidates in the past have bypassed Iowa - John McCain in 2000 and Wesley Clark in 2004 - and come to regret it.
Nobody is risking an overt snub of the state this year. The most important voters of this primary tend to notice those things.
"If we're not good enough for them to come to Iowa," said Republican farmer Tom Heinz, 57, "I'm not interested in their candidacy."