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Daybreak In Iowa

All Aboard [Thomas Beaumont, Des Moines Register]: “Iowa independents are expected to follow the lead set by their national peers in 2006. Nationwide, independents backed Democrats heavily in the watershed 2006 elections, in part out of a rejection of President Bush and a loud cry for change that has continued into the 2008 campaign, strategists in both parties agree.” 

Thompson to Tap Out? [Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen, Politico]: “Thompson’s departure could shake up the race more than his continued presence. Friends and advisers said they have long considered it likely that if the lobbyist-actor is forced from the race he would endorse John McCain his former Senate colleague who lately has been staging a political revival in New Hampshire.”

HRC, HR-Do [Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic]: “Twenty minutes after Ben Smith posted that [Hillary]'d stolen the ‘Fired up, ready to go’ line, Howard Wolfson went on Hardball and said that the great thing about Iowa was that Iowans were getting a chance to 'check under the hood...kick the tires.' Chris Matthews told him with a smirk, 'You stole that line directly from Obama.' "

Romney a Roll of the Dice [Joe Klein, Time]: "As George H.W. Bush learned, you can't run for President pretending to be one thing and succeed in office as someone else (Bush ran as a viciously negative, antitax populist instead of the thoughtful, tax-raising moderate that he actually was). Romney reminds me a bit of Bush the Elder. He seems very intelligent. His candidacy had real potential. But I don't think Romney believes a word he says."

Get Yer Spin Here [Chuck Todd, NBC News]: "A solid win [for John Edwards]: Credit will be given to the fact that of the three candidates, no one's been more focused on domestic issues than Edwards. He's done a more credible job of "feeling the pain" of economically distressed Iowans than any other candidate, and as the economy becomes a bigger issue with local voters, Edwards' populist stance has looked prescient."

The Iowa Textbook [Chase Martyn, Iowa Independent] "In the final days of the caucuses, political observers face a barrage of numbers emanating from Iowa -- from poll numbers to turnout projections, from newspaper endorsement totals to delegate counts, and beyond.  Myriad chyrons offer cable news viewers tantalizingly simplistic explanations of the Iowa caucuses, a political tradition that is just too chaotic to be reduced to one chart or graph....With caucus night nearly upon us, now seems like a good time to check the scoreboard for a few of the numbers we have been watching over the course of the campaign."

 --Dayo Olopade