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American Morning

Morning After Iowa 2008: Obama, Huckabee Win Caucuses

Aired January 04, 2008 - 04:59   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And thanks for joining us on this special edition of AMERICAN MORNING, the day after the Iowa Caucuses. A lot of news to tell you about. It is Friday, the fourth of January. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Certainly a lot of excitement last night. It was hard to go to sleep...

ROBERTS: What an incredible story...

CHETRY: ... following the returns.

ROBERTS: ... we have got as we head into the second contest here, the very first primary in this season in New Hampshire, come Tuesday. Wow.

CHETRY: Absolutely. And the reaction and the new details rolling in this morning. We will be bringing them to you throughout this special edition of AMERICAN MORNING.

Round one is over. Two relative newcomers, the winners of the Iowa Caucuses. Both of them saying that they are candidates for change and now have the momentum in the race for president.

Freshman Senator Barack Obama making history last night, the first African-American ever to win Iowa. Iowans made history too with a record-breaking number of first-time caucus-goers showing up to vote Obama. More than half of the voters said they wanted a candidate who could bring change, which has been Obama's theme from the start. And did you know his name six months ago?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took Iowa with a 9-point win over favorite Mitt Romney. He was polling in the single digits some weeks ago, didn't have a lot of cash or the organization of some of the other candidates.

But entrance polls showed that religious voters may have put them the minister over the top. They normally see about 40 percent evangelical voters coming out for the GOP caucuses in Iowa. It was 60 percent last night and that seems to be what pushed them over the edge.

ROBERTS: Yes. And he beat Mitt Romney in evangelical voters more than two-to-one. So quite a margin there for Mike Huckabee yesterday.

John Edwards narrowly edged Hillary Clinton in the battle for second place. A 36-hour marathon finish across Iowa got Edwards the silver. He finished 8 points behind Barack Obama. Clinton was 9 points behind to come in third. Everyone now looks to New Hampshire where polls are showing another statistical dead heat, this one between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Over on the Republican side, Mitt Romney spent hundreds of dollars per vote to come in second. He spent more than any other candidate in Hawkeye State. Now he faces a challenge from a surging Senator John McCain in New Hampshire. In fact, on his plane on the way to New Hampshire, Mike Huckabee said he believes that John McCain will win the Granite State.

Two candidates, both on the Democratic side, will not be moving on to the next contest. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden are bowing out of the race. Dodd moved his family to Iowa but did not even crack 1 percent of the vote -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Well, all morning we are going to be looking at why voters went for Huckabee and Obama, what message they delivered that connected, and will that message carry over to some of the other early states like New Hampshire, just days away now?

We are going to be talking with CNN's Bill Schneider, Jim VandeHei from, AMERICAN MORNING's Veronica De La Cruz, and also CNN's Joe Johns who is in Des Moines. And that is where we start this morning.

You know, Joe, more people turned out for the Iowa Caucuses than ever before. So what does it mean for the winners' and losers' momentum as we then look to New Hampshire?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you are right. Just an absolutely stunning turnout here, Kiran. And a lot of people certainly surprised by that. There were questions for so long about Barack Obama and whether he could translate all of that energy, those huge crowds that came out to see him, into actual support at the Iowa Caucuses. And last night, we certainly got our answer, 38 percent or so of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses for Barack Obama.

He is off to New Hampshire right now. But before he left last night, he addressed his supporters here in Iowa.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This was the moment when the improbable beat what Washington always said was inevitable. This was the moment when we tore down barriers that have divided us for too long, when we rallied people of all parties and ages to a common cause; when we finally gave Americans who had never participated in politics a reason to stand up and to do so.



JOHNS: So, John Edwards, a close second in the Iowa Caucuses with 30 percent of the vote. A lot of people had said that John Edwards actually needed to win here in Iowa to go on. His people already were prepared for that. When it became clear that they were not going to win, they said that the big loser, of course, last night, was Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who came in a close third with 29 percent of the vote.

Edwards now also off to New Hampshire. He plans, we are told, to fight on. Wants to at least get a strong showing, he says, in New Hampshire, and look to probably and try to break out either in South Carolina or Nevada.

Senator Hillary Clinton has a lot of soul-searching to do right now. This is a big problem for her, a lot of people expected her to do much better. Many people questioning whether she has to go back to basics and look at what is going on with her message that brought her in third place her. The campaign saying, don't look to Iowa, look on to New Hampshire where Obama and Clinton are essentially in a dead heat.

On the Republican side, of course, another huge story there. Mike Huckabee, a man whose name a lot of people didn't know six months ago, although six months ago in the straw poll here in Iowa, it became clear that he was pulling second to Mitt Romney. Well, last night he came in first, a strong showing by evangelical voters pushing him on to victory here in the Iowa Caucuses. He too spoke to supporters.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight what we have seen is a new day in American politics, a new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government. And tonight, it starts here in Iowa.

But it doesn't end here, it goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, one year from now.



JOHNS: Millions and millions of dollars spent here in Iowa in this campaign. And it is really only the beginning. The other thing we can say besides the second-place showing of Mitt Romney is the fact that Thompson and McCain pretty much at 13 percent apiece. So that is very close there. And McCain looking and hoping to do much better in New Hampshire. Back to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes. And it will be interesting to see, because there are certainly different things that win Iowa versus New Hampshire. What are those messages that are going to resonate with voters differently that the candidates are looking toward as they head to New Hampshire?

JOHNS: Well, on the Republican side, of course, the folks there have a much more pro-choice, if you will, view of things. And abortion, the social issues play prominently there in New Hampshire, but in a very different way than here. The evangelical voters obviously a big boost for Mr. Huckabee on that side. Pretty much a dogfight there in New Hampshire between these top-tier candidates.

On the Democratic side, it is going to be very interesting to see if Hillary Clinton can somehow overcome this bounce that you get coming out of Iowa every time, especially with Barack Obama, the whole notion of change, that question you have heard again and again of change versus experience.

Interesting, one note I would have to tell you, last night I spent some time talking to one of the voters who caucused for Barack Obama. And she made it quite clear that in her view, a lot of people here were saying -- they were questioning the very fundamental message of Senator Clinton, that she was the candidate of experience.

This person told me that in her view and the view of some of the other Democrats who caucused for Obama, that message of experience doesn't resonate when you were first lady. First lady is not the same thing as being president, she said. Hillary Clinton does get some credit, of course, for being a senator. But you can't claim to be that inevitable candidate of experience if you have just been first lady.

So that is one question as to whether the very fundamental message of Hillary Clinton needs to be retooled. That said, she can still make it through because she has enough money, enough organization to run a national campaign. And this thing could still go on for a long time.

CHETRY: All right. Joe Johns, reporting from Des Moines, Iowa, this morning, thanks.

ROBERTS: It is coming up on eight minutes after the hour. Barack Obama heads to New Hampshire now with some big-time momentum. He finished, take a look at this pie chart here, with 38 percent of the vote. He said it was a defining moment in history. And certainly could represent a sea-change in America politics if he were to go on to success, not only for the nomination, but the general election as well.

John Edwards took second with 30 percent. Hillary Clinton a point behind the former senator with 29 percent. Bill Richardson came in with only 2 percent of the vote. But he vows to fight on.

Barack Obama pounded home his theme of change and his commitment to ending the war in Iraq after his victory last night.


OBAMA: I will be a president who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.


OBAMA: And I will be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home.



ROBERTS: Barack Obama from last night. And on the Republican side, it was a huge win for Mike Huckabee. He had 34 percent, drawing strong support from evangelicals in what was a record turnout by GOP caucus-goers, a record on both sides, by the way.

Mitt Romney won the silver, as he called it, coming in 9 points behind, with 25 percent. Fred Thompson scoring third with 13 percent, of course, saying that he is going to stay in the race, knocking down any of those rumors that were out early yesterday, saying that it was likely that he would drop out of the race before New Hampshire if he didn't finish better than third.

Huckabee says that he won Iowa by connecting with average Americans.


HUCKABEE: We are finding out how to talk to the middle class, finding out how to talk to people in small business that make up 80 percent of the jobs in this country, to speak up for the folks that maybe felt like nobody was talking for them and to them in the Republican Party. This was not just an Iowa deal, I think it was an American deal.


ROBERTS: We also want to point out that John McCain came in with a not bad showing. He tied Fred Thompson for third spot with 13 percent. John McCain's number in New Hampshire much better than they are Iowa. So that portends something good for John McCain going into the next contest in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. Let's turn to Jim VandeHei. He is the executive editor of He has been watching all of this.

Jim, what is your takeaway from what happened last night in Iowa?

JIM VANDEHEI, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE POLITICO: Hillary Clinton should be really scared for a couple of reasons. Barack Obama went into this saying, hey, I can win. He won. He said, I can turn out a lot more independents. He did and he crushed her when it came to independent voters and those Republicans who had been Republicans before that then voted Democratic yesterday.

He said, I can bring out young voters, new voters to the process. Fifty-seven percent of voters yesterday in the Democratic caucus were new to the process. Overwhelmingly they backed Barack Obama. He can now make a convincing argument that he is the one who is most electable and that he is appealing to every single section of voters.

Hillary Clinton had based her campaign on saying, I'm going to bring more women into the process and they will vote for me. He won a majority -- or at least beat her among female voters.

On the Republican side, John McCain, I think, is the other big winner next to Huckabee here. John McCain always was banking on a big victory in New Hampshire to become the comeback kid. The only way that he could go beyond New Hampshire and really have a real chance is if he can get conservatives to give him a second look.

A lot of conservatives don't like him because of his position on immigration and campaign finance reform. Now he can say, listen, I'm the lesser of two evils, you might not like me on a lot of issues, but I'm better than Huckabee on economic issues because he wanted to raise taxes when he was in Arkansas.

I'm better than Huckabee on national security issues because I have experience. He has no experience. I think that is going to be a very powerful argument for establishment Republicans.

ROBERTS: Let's go back to the Democrats for a second. It seems that New Hampshire voters, at least on the Republican side, may vote more on the issues than Democratic voters do. Because the Democrats are very close on these issues.

VANDEHEI: Correct.

ROBERTS: So on that side of the race, is it about issues or is it about this idea of who is the best leader and who would be the biggest agent of change?

VANDEHEI: I think it is very much about who will be the agent of change and who can win. Democrats want a winner. Look at those numbers -- the turnout numbers yesterday. I think it came close to 240,000 people turned out for the Democratic caucus. That is almost twice the number in 2004.

Republicans should be very spooked by that number. It shows that there is enthusiasm out there. It is the old Buffalo Springfield song, something is happening here. And Republicans know it. They were picking up on it, looking at the fundraising numbers, seeing that Democrats were starting to out-raise them, especially among low-dollar donors. That tells me that there are new people getting into the process and there is activism that we have not seen before.

So what Democrats are looking at now is, how do we take all of this momentum, how do we take this money and find somebody who is broadly electable? What is going to happen now is you are going to see a contrast in New Hampshire going forward. Hillary Clinton is going to have to say, listen, yes, you really like Barack Obama, but this is going to be a national security election and I am better positioned to carry that argument against a Republican candidate.

You know, there is a lot of talk in the last 10 minutes on your program about, well, she needs to adjust her message. Listen, everybody knows Hillary Clinton. Like you either like her or you don't like her. I don't think that she can keep switching slogans and messages and change it. She is going to have to somehow go in with what is her strength -- that she has experience and that she is very articulate on a lot of issues and say, listen, I'm better than Barack Obama, choose me. It is a lot tougher today than it was 24 hours ago.

ROBERTS: Yes. And quickly, Jim, people may be wondering if the "Hucka-boom" in Iowa could turn into a "Hucka-bounce" going into New Hampshire. But he is coming into the Granite State with this proposal of a 23 percent sales tax in a state that has no income tax or state sales tax. I mean, can he even try to fly that -- that thing in New Hampshire?

VANDEHEI: It is going to be very difficult for him in New Hampshire. And it is not just taxes. He is going to -- the evangelical Christians, if you look at the turnout numbers in Iowa, 60 percent of the vote was from evangelical Christians, he walloped everybody when it came to that voting segment.

You don't have that kind of receptivity to evangelicals in New Hampshire. They tend to actually shy away from that and focus much more on economic issues. I think where Huckabee is going to focus pretty quickly will be on South Carolina and then other southern states on February 5th where his argument, not just that I'm an evangelical Christian, but his economic populism.

There were numbers out, I guess a couple of days ago, looking at new housing starts -- or new housing construction at a 14-year low. A lot of people think a recession is coming. I think that populist message resonates very well in a place like, say, like South Carolina.

So I think strategically he has already said, I guess, overnight on the plane coming into New Hampshire, he thinks McCain is going to win. I don't think that is just expectations-setting, I think he truly believes that.

ROBERTS: All right. We don't want to talk you out, Jim, because we want to bring you back a little bit later on in the hour. Thanks very much, Jim VandeHei from -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Well, as we are headed to the next big battleground state, it is New Hampshire, AMERICAN MORNING will be live from New Hampshire Monday and Tuesday. Both John and myself will be there. It all starts 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

And if you are looking forward to New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is headed there as well. Is she working on a new strategy? And how about Mike Huckabee, does he need a new message for New Hampshire? We are going to be talking to the candidate a bit later on AMERICAN MORNING.


JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The one thing that is clear from the results in Iowa tonight is the status quo lost and change won.





OBAMA: On this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do.



CHETRY: And that was Barack Obama after his big win in Iowa. As candidates make their way to New Hampshire this morning, there are other stories making headlines, and of course, leave it Britney Spears to take attention away from the presidential election.

Just a couple of hours ago she was carried out of her Los Angeles home on a stretcher. There is video right now coming to us from KTLA. There was also live aerial coverage of this breaking news event for Los Angeles.

Police say they were called to her home after a custody dispute with her ex-husband. According to, the Web site, the LAPD found Spears to be, quote, "under the influence of an unknown substance." She was taken Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where word is that she will be tested for drugs or alcohol, and for a psychological evaluation. Her two young children went home to Kevin Federline, who does have primary custody.

We are tracking extreme weather in California, the potential for historic snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, up to 10 feet, that is right, feet over the weekend. Blizzard warnings have been posted. The Bay Area also bracing for flooding, mudslides, and hurricane force winds. Our Reynolds Wolf is in the middle of it all. He is going to be giving us a live report at the top of the hour. There you see all of the trucks getting ready to shovel and drop that salt -- John.

ROBERTS: Yes. He is up there in Truckee, which is, I think, the place in the country, if I'm not mistaken, Kiran, that the -- holds the record for the most snowfall?

CHETRY: Yes. And can be some of the most treacherous areas to try to pass when these blizzard-like conditions come. So we will be following that for people all morning.

ROBERTS: All right. Look forward to seeing Reynolds coming up a little bit later on.

Right now at 19 minutes after the hour, how did Barack Obama defeat Hillary Clinton? With the female vote. What does that mean for New Hampshire and beyond? Bill Schneider joins us now with more.

And she got nine ways to Sunday last night, didn't she?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: She certainly did. Women were supposed to be her base voters, but you know what? Women voted for Barack Obama, and so did men. How did that happen?

Well, there was a huge age difference in the vote. Barack Obama carried the women's vote 35 to 30. And what we found was that among older women, they did vote for Hillary Clinton. Middle-aged women, Hillary Clinton placed second to Obama. Younger women, Hillary Clinton placed third behind both Obama and Edwards.

The big effect here was age, not gender. As you got older, you were more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton. It was young voters that put Barack Obama in first place.

ROBERTS: Barack Obama was making a huge play for independent voters. How did he do on that front?

SCHNEIDER: He carried independent voters by a solid margin: Obama 41, Edwards 23, Hillary Clinton came in third among independents. Now this is very, very important as we head to New Hampshire. Because in New Hampshire, independents are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary.

They are likely to make up over 40 percent of the voters. They were only about 20 percent of the voters in the caucuses in Iowa. If they are heavily for Obama, Hillary Clinton could face big trouble coming into New Hampshire.

ROBERTS: Jim VandeHei also made the point that this should be a shot across the bow to Republicans too. That if Barack Obama can attract that many independents, what might he do in a general election as a nominee?

SCHNEIDER: Barack Obama's appeal has always across party lines. He says he wants to unify the country. He wants to bring Democrats and Republicans together. We saw some evidence of that with his appeal to independents. If he can appeal to Republicans, if he looks like a unifying figure, he could really go right on from here and storm a lot of primaries.

ROBERTS: Now you told us just a second ago, Bill, that Barack Obama won decidedly among younger voters under the age of 30. Hillary Clinton won decidedly among voters over 65. They were both targeting them. But they were also both targeting first-time caucus-goers.

We heard about Hillary Clinton deliberating shovels to all of the precinct captains so that any snow that fell could be shoveled away and not dissuade these first-time caucus-goers from going out last night. Who won among those first-timers?

SCHNEIDER: Obama. Obama did very well among first-time caucus- goers in Iowa who were a majority of those who showed up last night to vote in the Iowa Caucuses. They turned out very heavily for Barack Obama. That was that huge swell in turnout, over 200,000. It hasn't even been close to that in the past. It was just a record turnout. And most of them came out for the first time ever to vote in Iowa.

ROBERTS: Pretty extraordinary night. And what an amazing story we have too coming out of this.

SCHNEIDER: It is. A real breakthrough.

ROBERTS: Fantastic. Bill, we will get you back in a few minutes, talk about what happened on the Republican side of things and that what might mean for the race going forward.

Right now, here is Kiran.

CHETRY: Speaking of the Republicans, how about the winner? He was outspent by a fortune, but Mike Huckabee wakes up this morning with a 9-point victory over Mitt Romney. So why did Huckabee to so many Iowans? And how will he carry that appeal on to the other states like New Hampshire? Coming up just around the corner, we are going to be talking with his good friend and former communications director Rex Nelson (ph) after a quick break. This is a special edition of political coverage this morning, the day after Iowa Caucuses, on AMERICAN MORNING. Keep it here.


CHETRY: Well, Mike Huckabee loves Iowa and the Hawkeye State certainly gave the former Arkansas governor the same love. He gets the first win of the 2008 White House race, despite being outspent by some estimate 15 to one. Mike Huckabee beat Mitt Romney by 9 points. He said that the win shows that people are more important than, quote, "the purse."

So why did Iowans turn out in droves for the man who just months ago was practically an unknown? Joining us now on the phone, Mike Huckabee's good friend and former communications director, Rex Nelson.

Thanks for being with us this morning.

REX NELSON, FORMER HUCKABEE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Good morning. It is a pleasure to be with you.

CHETRY: I'm sure it is a pleasure. I'm sure you are thrilled at the news. What do you think it was about Huckabee's message that resonated with voters in Iowa last night?

NELSON: Well, he has the crossover appeal that Bill Schneider was just talking about that Barack Obama has. Mike Huckabee has a unique ability to communicate to individual voters. He is great at retail politics. And I think Iowa was his kind of place. It is a lot like Arkansas. He translated to voters there. And I don't think he is a one-trick pony.

He is not a Pat Robertson who is simply going to be seen as the evangelical candidate and not be able to transfer that to other states. This is not just a Baptist minister, this is a guy who was one of the longest-serving governors in the country. He was governor of Arkansas for 10 1/2 years.

CHETRY: Right. Rex, let me ask you about that, because it is interesting. It really was evangelical voters that pushed him over the edge last night when it came to winning against Mitt Romney. He -- they voted for him two-to-one. And those who were not evangelical voted for Romney two-to-one.

Christian conservatives much less influential as we head into New Hampshire, so how does he convince moderates, the non-evangelicals, those concerned with foreign policy and the economy, that he is their man in that state?

NELSON: If you would look at his record here in Arkansas, elected lieutenant governor in a special election in '93, reelected to a full term in '94, elected to full terms as governor in '98 and 2002 in one of the most Democratic states in the country, you will see that he has the ability to appeal to those other than evangelicals.

I think he can take his message to places like New Hampshire, and then certainly to South Carolina, up to Florida. It is time for a change not only in America, but it is time for some changes in the Republican Party. And time, if you will, to bring that old Reagan coalition back together again.

CHETRY: You know, it is interesting, because you talked about -- you compared him just briefly to Barack Obama in the beginning. Both of them wanting to be agents for change. If you were to put them head-to-head, why would Huckabee be a better president, in your opinion?

NELSON: Well, I think Mike Huckabee has an ability to appeal to those core values of Americans who happen to be fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. This nation, in that sense, if you look at presidential elections, has trended more Republican in the last half century. And I think that would be the difference in a head-to-head match-up with Barack Obama.

CHETRY: Rex Nelson, former communications direction for Governor Huckabee and friend of Huckabee as well, thanks so much for getting up early and talking with us this morning.

NELSON: Thank you very much. It is good visiting with you.

CHETRY: And by the way, we want to let our viewers know we are going to be speaking with Governor Huckabee himself, actually, in just a couple of hours. He is going to be joining us, 7:15 Eastern time, to talk a little bit about his big win and what his plan is next -- John.

ROBERTS: It is coming up to 29 minutes after the hour now. Mitt Romney just touched down in New Hampshire where he will be spending the weekend. There are a couple of debates there ahead of the first primary in the nation coming up on Tuesday night. There he is walking down the jet way with his wife, Ann, at his side. Obviously there has been no sleep in Romney family this morning, coming in second with 24 percent. What does that mean for the rest of the race? We are going to be talking about that more.

Don't forget, Iowa is just one state, it is just one loss. There are plenty of people who have gone on to win the nomination who have not done well in Iowa. One prominent that comes to mind is Bill Clinton. So there you go. Romney is in New Hampshire now. We will be speaking with the candidate coming up a little bit later on this morning, in about two hours from now.

You are watching AMERICAN MORNING's special coverage of last night's caucuses. Stay with us on CNN.


CHETRY: You know, all of that work, all of those months of preparation, boom, Iowa is over and they are all on planes, you know, right after midnight, heading to the next state.

ROBERTS: It is like Christmas, isn't it? You prepare all year for it, whoa, where did it go?

CHETRY: Right. So much time wrapping and the presents just get opened in a few seconds.

ROBERTS: Some of those candidates, and specifically speaking of John Edwards, have been, you know, tromping around Iowa since the spring of 2005. It is just incredible.

CHETRY: That is right. And certainly the result incredible as well. Big wins for Barack Obama as well as Mike Huckabee. We are going to be talking with Mike Huckabee a little bit later, but also with Mitt Romney, who was the favorite to win, at least from the GOP side in Iowa.

ROBERTS: Well, he was certainly the one who spent the most money there. He put $7 million into the Hawkeye State just in advertising alone. That counts for hundreds of dollars per person who came out and voted for him, just slightly under 30,000 people voted for Mitt Romney. So the economics of running a campaign there for him were quite extraordinary.

CHETRY: That is right. So how is he going to sort of change tactics for New Hampshire? We are talking about all of that this morning, welcome. It is Friday, the day after Iowa, caucus night, January 4th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. A historic night in Iowa is the only way to put it. Democratic Senator Barack Obama, Republican Mike Huckabee have won the first battles in the 2008 presidential race.

Obama became the first African-American to win the Iowa Caucus. John Edwards took second. Senator Hillary Clinton all the way back in third. A record-breaking number of first-time caucus-goers gave Obama the edge.

It was just slightly more than 225,000 on the Democratic side at last count. More than half of the voters said they wanted a candidate who could bring about change, which has been Obama's theme from the start.

Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, took Iowa with a 9-point win over Mitt Romney. Huckabee was polling in the single digits just weeks ago. What an incredible story on that side. He didn't have the cash or the organization of some of the other candidates, but entrance polls show that religious voters may have put the minister over the top.

In fact, he just -- he slammed candidate Romney among evangelical voters by a more than two-to-one margin -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Sure did. And whether or not he is going to be able to carry that into New Hampshire a big question this morning. We continue our coverage now of Iowa 2008, the big battle -- the first big battle and lead-up to the presidential nominations. We head back to Joe Johns, who is in Des Moines this morning.

So the first step is over. We know a lot of those candidates boarding planes and already heading on to the next state. So what is going on in Iowa?

JOHNS: Well, I will tell you, Kiran, I'm not absolutely sure about this, but just about all of the top Democrats probably should be on the ground in New Hampshire by now. I know we are expecting John Edwards to arrive shortly.

I know for a fact that last night the plan was for him to hit the ground running, literally to go from the plane to an event. So there is going to be a lot of activity now. Just a frenzy of activity, in fact, in New Hampshire over the next several days as we move to the nation's first primary.

New Hampshire is a very different animal here too. We are talking about a lot of independent voters, as many as 40 percent independents. So the question is whether Barack Obama can sort of ride that wave coming out of Iowa and pick up a head of steam in what is a very close race right now, polls show, between him and Hillary Clinton there in New Hampshire -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And on the GOP side, we have Mitt Romney and his wife just arriving. I think we had video of the plane coming in just a couple of minutes ago. What are his challenges? As we had just talked about, he spent so much money in Iowa, coming in 9 points behind the winner. How does he change strategy or what does he need to do in New Hampshire to resonate with the voters more?

JOHNS: Well, he is in a tough spot, after coming out of here with a showing that wasn't what he wanted, he goes into New Hampshire now in a tough spot, because polls are suggesting that John McCain is doing very well there right now. And the other problem for Romney really is that it would be a devastating blow for him to lose New Hampshire simply because of the fact that it is a neighboring state to his home base of Massachusetts. So Romney really has to pick up some steam there very quickly.

And as you know, New Hampshire, on the Republican side, is less conservative than Iowa. The people there are not nearly as socially conservative as Iowans are. So it could be a very uphill climb still for Mitt Romney, spending a lot of money there. So is Barack Obama, so are all of them, basically, if they have it. But, you know, he has got a big fight ahead.

CHETRY: It is also interesting because the winner of the Iowa Caucuses, Mike Huckabee, when he was interviewed on the plane heading to New Hampshire said he thinks that John McCain is going to win. He is sort of lowering his own expectations as he heads into a state where he cannot rely on the Christian conservatives as much as he was able to Iowa.

JOHNS: That is very true. You know, and here McCain, of course, in Iowa was hoping that Huckabee would do very well, that sort of idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So McCain hoping to get a little boost there, doing pretty well in Iowa right now. There are still debates to go. A lot of ground to cover between now and the primary.

CHETRY: The other interesting thing is when you look demographically at both Iowa and New Hampshire, overwhelmingly white, far more Caucasian than most of the other states in those early races. And we did point out the fact that Barack Obama ended up being the first African-American to win Iowa.

So how will race factor in and the fact that you are dealing with a very, very small Democratic demographic when it comes to both of these states?

JOHNS: Well, sure. And what the states argue is that they are very good at vetting these candidates. They are very thoughtful in vetting these candidates. And I think what happened here in Iowa speaks for itself. You have the first African-American ever to win the Iowa Caucuses.

These people took a good, hard look at the candidates. They liked what they saw, obviously, in Barack Obama. And I know if you went to any of the rallies, as I did here in the final days, it was really remarkable to watch how Barack Obama worked a crowd.

He got people up on their feet. People very excited. There was a lot of energy. The only real question was whether he was going to be able to translate that into support at the caucuses. And he did.

So now that you see what has happened here in Iowa, it really sort of undercuts the concerns about minority representation in the electorate in these early voting states. But you know, going forward, we will see. CHETRY: You are right. Yesterday, The Washington Post asked, will Barack Obama be the Howard Dean of 2008? Clearly, as we found out this morning, the answer to that is no. Joe Johns, great to see you this morning, thanks.

ROBERTS: Well, both Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee have portrayed themselves as agents of change. And that clearly resonated with caucus-goers in Iowa. For closer look at just what propelled them to victories in Iowa, Jim VandeHei is the executive editor of The Politico. He joins us again from Washington.

So it looks, Jim, as though it was appeal among Christian conservatives for Mike Huckabee, appeal among people -- young people in particular who were looking for some sort of difference in the way that politics is carried out in this country.

Iowa is sending a very loud message to the rest of the country they don't like the status quo. But how does that translate to the next contest in New Hampshire where very close on the Democratic side, not so close on the Republican side?

VANDEHEI: Well, let's take Democrats for starters. I think it translates in that I think what you saw in Iowa is a microcosm of what you see across the country for Democrats. They just -- they loathe President Bush. They loathe the state of the country. They are unhappy with the war. And they really do want change. And they want pretty dramatic change.

I don't think they just want a change in leadership. I think they want a whole change in attitude for the Democratic Party. And Barack Obama has presented that. I don't think he has been as sort of combative, if you will, as Edwards, but he has said, I'm going to change politics and I'm going to bring a whole bunch of different people into the process.

And now what Barack Obama can do is point to real numbers, empirical data and say, listen, I did it, I brought in young voters, I brought over independents, I even brought over a couple of Republicans, I'm the person who can change this party.

For Republicans, I think we are -- it is as uncertain today as it was 24 hours ago. You still have four candidates who you can make a plausible for, could win the nomination.

And I don't think that this has clarified anything, because Huckabee is going to have a heck of a hard time in New Hampshire. He knows it, that is why he said he thinks John McCain will win.

And even, you know, Rudy Giuliani, who we are not talking about much today because he did not compete in Iowa and has only made sort of a half-hearted effort of late in New Hampshire, he still has a plausible route to winning this.

If it is uncertain heading into February 5th, and his different brand of Republicanism, where downplays some of the social issues where he is out of touch with conservatives, that plays well in places like New York and California.

ROBERTS: You know, Jim, voters in the Granite State pride themselves on their independence. And they say, you know, Iowa can go do what it wants, but we are going to do what we want.

But do you think that the momentum that Barack Obama will carry out of Iowa will cause some of those undecided voters in New Hampshire to take another listen to what he says this weekend on the issues to see if, well, maybe he is just the guy that I want to vote for?

VANDEHEI: Absolutely. Momentum totally matters in politics. You know that, John. We watched this stuff for so long. This stuff has a snowball effect sometimes. And if you are a young voter, you are a kid in college and you are, well, I might get involved, I might not get involved, and you look at what happened in Iowa.

And you are like, wow, all of these kids came out, they organized, they became part of something, and they actually had results, it wasn't the Howard Dean phenomenon, this actually worked, there was a real organization here, I think that fires people up and that brings people into the process.

The thing that we will all be looking for in New Hampshire is independents can go either way, they can go vote Republican or they can go vote Democratic. You are going to have McCain fighting for those independents. And that is really his base in New Hampshire, and now you are going to have Barack Obama.

Who can pull them over will be a really interesting fight, because I think they are going to be torn. McCain makes a very compelling argument to independents in that, listen, I am a different -- I'm kind of an agent of change too. I have been willing to take on Bush on certain issues, much like Barack Obama has on the other side. That will be a very exciting fight.

ROBERTS: Well, it is the most wide open race since, well, I guess you would even have to go back further than 1952, go all the way back to 1928 when there were no incumbents running. And it is promising to be every bit as exciting as anybody thought it ever would be. Jim VandeHei for us from Politico this morning. Jim, thanks, good to talk to you.

VANDEHEI: Take care, John.


CHETRY: And they didn't have 24-hour cable then, so it is all the more exciting now.

ROBERTS: Exactly.

CHETRY: And all that polling and all of it. Well, we are going to be hearing from Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, one and two from the GOP in Iowa. They are live with us in the 7:00 hour of AMERICAN MORNING as they get ready for the Granite State. Also, now that the candidates are off to New Hampshire, so are we. Next week, AMERICAN MORNING will be live from New Hampshire. John will be out there Monday. I will be coming out Monday afternoon. Tuesday AMERICAN MORNING will be live from New Hampshire as well. So you don't want to miss it, our coverage of the New Hampshire primary.

Also ahead, there is a good deal of buzz about Barack Obama's victory speech last night. Some people comparing it to a speech that we all studied in American history. We are going to talk about that coming up ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Well, huge victories in Iowa for both Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama. So how did those wins reshape the presidential race with the New Hampshire Primary now just four days away? CNN contributor Roland Martin joins me now to talk more about it.

Great to see you. Thanks for being here.


CHETRY: We will start with the Democrats then. You have talked to Obama several times. You have interviewed him on many different occasions. How big of a victory was it last night in Iowa?

MARTIN: Of course, this is huge. Iowa has never elected an African-America to anything. And so for him to beat Edwards by 8 points, Clinton by 9 points, it is absolutely stunning.

Remember, you know, less than a year ago, he launched his campaign in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, a lot of people said, who is this guy with this funny name, only served in the U.S. Senate for a couple of years, the state legislature for eight years.

And people said, he has no chance of beating Senator Hillary Clinton. Well, last night he proved all of the naysayers wrong.

CHETRY: That is right. He was able to get out more young voters, more first-time voters. And it was interesting, because he actually beat Hillary Clinton in one of the areas where the pundits said she had a lock, which was women.

MARTIN: Well, absolutely. And I think part of the problem is many of our pundits have been operating by conventional wisdom, the traditional politics, and had not fully understood the appeal of Obama.

This is the first candidate of this generation that has been able to really appeal to the emotional aspect of voters. You know, I'm 39 years old, and so I don't have a recollection of RFK, of Dr. King, of John F. Kennedy. And so a lot of people are saying that he presents that.

Last night in his speech you heard that. You heard a little Robert F. Kennedy. You heard Dr. King, you know, from his book, "Why We Can't Wait," the letter from a Birmingham jail. You heard Abraham Lincoln's speech, "A House Divided." And so...

CHETRY: Right, and in fact, let's...

MARTIN: ... he appeals to people in that regard.

CHETRY: Let's hear some of that, actually, because as you talked about, there was some references even from Obama himself to Abraham Lincoln's "A House Divided" speech. So let's listen to a little bit about -- of Obama's speech from last night.


OBAMA: We are choosing hope over fear.


OBAMA: We are choosing unity over division and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.



CHETRY: ... when he said that?

MARTIN: Well, he is actually speaking to a couple of different people. First and foremost, when Lincoln gave his speech on June 16th, 1858, he was speaking about slavery, saying "A House Divided."

And so what Obama is saying when he is talking about red and blue, what he is talking about is, we are a divided nation, divided not only politically, but also divided generationally.

So the whole issue appealing to young folks versus targeting Baby Boomers. He is talking about that. And so he is trying to sort of say, look, I am the candidate who can bridge that gap.

But also when he says fear, he is speaking to whites and blacks as well. And so when he has been on many shows, when he said, African-Americans cannot be fearful of my campaign, because many African-Americans have said, I don't think whites will actually vote for him.

Well, last night, Iowa, 95 percent white, those folks were proved wrong. And so he is trying to say, look, you can't be afraid of me. He is saying to white voters, look, although I'm African-American, my mom is from Kansas, dad is from Kenya. I am someone who you can believe in and trust in as well.

And so if we are really going to decipher his speech, he is trying to say, look, it is time for us to get over all of these old issues we have, these wounds that frankly we have not tried to heal from. He is saying, I can be that person. You are not hearing that from Senator Hillary Clinton. You are not hearing that from -- somewhat from John Edwards. But you are hearing it a little bit from Mike Huckabee as well.

And so you sort of have people saying, look, we can no longer be a nation, as Lincoln said, "A House Divided." We have to be one nation in the United States as opposed to red state, blue state, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative.

CHETRY: It will be interesting because you are right, both of them have a similar message. Both of the winners from last night have a similar message about unity and change.

MARTIN: Yes, indeed.

CHETRY: Roland Martin, great to see you.

MARTIN: Glad to be here.

ROBERTS: Great idea in American politics. Can Mike Huckabee carry his Iowa momentum into New Hampshire? We will examine the Iowa vote to see what it holds for the future, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: It is coming on seven minutes to the top of the hour. We asked and, boy, did you deliver, our Veronica De La Cruz joins us now with a look at how our I-reporters covered last night's events in Iowa.

Good morning to you. This...


ROBERTS: ... is a unique and rare inside look at these caucuses.

DE LA CRUZ: Oh, absolutely. You know, so many people turned out last night. There were record numbers, as you know. And I really think that reflected in the number of I-reports we say. And also the quality of I-reports.

You know, taking a look at those numbers, more than 225,000 Democrats turned out last night, which is up from about 125,000 in 2004. And then roughly 120,000 Republicans turned out. That number is up from about 88,000 back in 2000, which was the last time a Republican caucus was held in Iowa.

Taking a look at some of these I-reports, Jeff Lawson (ph) from Boone, Iowa, sent these photos. He said they were expecting about 700 Republicans. He estimates that about 1,500 people showed up. He said that the caucus started 45 minutes late because it was so crowed. People were lined up at the door just waiting to come in.

We also received I-reports from Jean Tennant (ph) in Everly. She took it upon herself to actually go around and speak with voters, pretty impressive, take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Bud Meyer, mayor of Everly. And, Bud, you are here to change over parties? You have been a registered Republican?

MAYOR BUD MEYER, EVERLY, IOWA: That is right (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you are changing now?

MEYER: For tonight, anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For tonight, how come?

MEYER: Just because I think it is time for a change.


DE LA CRUZ: All right. So here, John, you see Jean asking the mayor who he would vote for. Now that he is a Democrat -- you know, he is a register Republican, he says he is undecided, Jean says that she thinks he actually caucused for Barack Obama last night, like he was just saying, it is time for change.

ROBERTS: Wow. Yes. I mean, that is a message that resonated across Iowa and was heard loud and clear last night on both sides.

DE LA CRUZ: But I love how Jean took it upon herself to go out and actually speak with the voters, not just send us pictures or video, but actually speak with voters. She...

ROBERTS: This is a rare peek behind the curtain.

DE LA CRUZ: It is. And take a look at this. She also spoke with another couple.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your husband is 87, and you brought him out on this cold night to caucus for what reason?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I think it is important.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry. No, I don't think we have missed a caucus in all of these years.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And do you have a preference?




DE LA CRUZ: So 88 years old, she says she doesn't think that they have missed a caucus in all of these years. And they came out in the cold, it was definitely a cold night for caucus-goers. I believe temperatures were reported to be in the teens and the low 20s.

So again, like you are saying, you know, some pretty rare insight. An inside look into what happened last night. And we get more now. This is from 19-year-old Gina Kyat (ph), three generations in this photograph. She caucused last night with her mom and grandma. And she said that this was her first caucus experience. She caucused right there for Mike Huckabee, as you can see.

Ryan Sever (ph) is from Tama (ph), Iowa, sent in this photo. He attended the Democratic caucus there. He says the moment the people at the Biden and Richardson tables realized that their candidates weren't going to get the 15 percent needed to remain viable, they jumped up and they left everything behind. So there is one lonely Biden sign.

ROBERTS: Well, where did they go though? Where did they go? Because we heard that the Richardsons were breaking for Barack Obama, as were the Kuciniches. I wonder where the Bidens went last night?

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. I don't know, maybe Barack, who knows?

ROBERTS: And it was interesting to listen to that elderly couple. They said that they hadn't missed a caucus and that they were caucusing for John Edwards, which really reinforces this notion that the established caucus-goers were all going to go for Edwards while some of the others...

DE LA CRUZ: And you know...

ROBERTS: ... went for Obama.

DE LA CRUZ: ... looking at a lot of the Barack Obama photos that came in, we are going to take a look at them coming up, it is a sea of young voters. You see all of these school caps and a lot of college kids came out last night for him. So we are going to take a look at those in the next hour.

And also you out there, we are going to be looking for more of your I-reports as the primary season moves into full swing. You can send us your I-reports by logging on to

ROBERTS: That was really interesting stuff, and something you don't normally see.

DE LA CRUZ: I know. It is good stuff.

ROBERTS: Because they don't let cameras in...

DE LA CRUZ: Mm-hmm. ROBERTS: ... unless people bring them in themselves.

DE LA CRUZ: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: Great stuff, Veronica, thanks.

DE LA CRUZ: Thanks.


CHETRY: Yes. That really was fascinating last night to get CNN's view right in the living rooms where these caucuses were taking place. Very fascinating.

Well, still ahead, we are going to be talking with Mike Huckabee, the big winner of the night; also Mitt Romney, he was number two yesterday for the GOP in Iowa, live in the 7:00 hour of AMERICAN MORNING, as they get set to take on the Granite State and the voters there coming up next.

Plus, how badly are the Romney and Clinton...


CHETRY: ... campaigns damaged? We are going to take a look at their reactions ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.