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tv   QA Iowa Caucuses History  CSPAN  February 1, 2020 8:59pm-10:00pm EST

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in, you asked us all to work together in the spirit of .tability and bipartisanship mr. speaker, let's do exactly that. tonight i stand before you to report that america has created the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history. nearly 18 million new jobs, wages raising twice as much as
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inflation, the lowest peacetime unemployment since 1957. >> watch the state of the union from 1999 this sunday. ♪ host: david yepsen joining us from the capital city of iowa, countdown to the caucus. we will spend an hour talking about times past and what will
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happen this year. when did iowa caucuses first hit the political radar? mr. yepsen: 1972. iowa had always had caucuses. in 1972, the democratic party started operating under new rules. i always say the caucuses today were born in 1968 in the streets of chicago. the party decided to open up the process so more people could attend and in doing so in 1972, you had a series of events, at the national convention, congressional district conventions and county conventions and precincts. so the state party, in order to allow more people to participate, backed this up in the calendar into february of 1972, which was very early. that was the first year it
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really became significant. george mcgovern won second-place. it was unexpected. i think it is important for a couple of reasons. gary hart, george mcgovern's campaign manager, and senator mcgovern were looking around for a place to get some media attention and a little buzz as the contest headed into the new hampshire primary. it worked for them. they mobilized the antiwar movement in the state and those people turned out, and finished a strong second-place against ed muskie, the front runner at the time. there were a few reporters, national political reporters, who came to iowa to cover that. one of them was johnny apple of the new york times. in his story about the caucuses
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said mcgovern had an unexpectedly strong second-place showing. it was the first time i think where the expectations game got played. having national media, particularly of apple's stature started to legitimize this. mcgovern went on to win the nomination, and that really sent a signal that the potency of the antiwar movement and also that there was something going on out in iowa that was important to pay attention to. host: we will have an opportunity to look back in history. a little bit more about organization. at first, the caucus is guaranteed to be historic
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because at the same time the senate impeachment trial is going on. i am wondering, lots of debate already about the impact of that on the four senators currently competing in the caucuses and what it might do to them in the last weeks of campaigning. what are the local expert saying about the impact? mr. yepsen: this is unprecedented. it sidelines a good segment of the campaign. people are going to have to figure out ways to do things electronically. the digital campaign will be out in full force. campaigns that are scheduling surrogates campaigners to be there. we will see spouses and
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children. it has slowed the campaign. and this is brutally cold weather and that has slowed the campaign. so it is a different system. host: all of the focus this year is on the democratic caucus. are republicans going to caucus and are there any candidates canvassing the state other than the president and his surrogates? mr. yepsen: yes. republicans will have a caucus and they also plan to take their traditional straw poll. there have been a few visits by william wells, former congressman walsh, but they are not doing anything substantial. there is no organization on the ground. host: why is iowa a caucus state from a cultural standpoint? mr. yepsen: it has been that way for many years, going back to 1916, i believe. it is just the way the two parties have chosen to structure
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themselves and organize themselves. you have the basic element of government, the precinct. that is simply the way iowa has always done it. it became important in 1972 when it became the earliest. so it is important because it is earliest, it is not early because it is important. host: we are going to show people a bit of a caucus from 2016. c-span has televised caucus in action. i would like you to describe what a caucus is and what it does. >> i am the next generation of this country and i have $30,000 of student loan debt and hillary does not have a plan. >> it is not about raising your taxes. >> i am not ok with this bar. >> who is going to pay for free health care and education? >> everyone is going to get taxed. host: in a local school or other kind of gathering place and a
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lot of debates going on. what is accomplished during a caucus? mr. yepsen: party organizes itself and conducts a lot of routine business electing the committee members, central committee members, raising a little money. the early caucuses are important because they are breaking down
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and starting to select delegates to the convention and the state and county. in the democratic process, iowa is the first state where people expressed a preference for presidential candidates and elect delegates to the county convention. that is the first time that sort of preference gets expressed, so everyone is watching. it is interesting. the term caucus is believed to be a native american term that means a meeting of tribal leaders. for many decades, when the caucuses were organized, it was just that. a handful of people acting in
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both parties who met in someone's living room and talked about party business in the neighborhood. they were the leaders. now, it has morphed into the whole tribe shows up in both parties to participate in the meetings. host: last year you told political you thought the floors were going to buckle in iowa because there was so much interest. now we are days away from it. what is the anticipation for how many people will participate, and how does it compare with history? mr. yepsen: it may be the largest turnout ever on the democratic side. no one knows for sure the state chair has talked about that it could be 300,000. it is a victim of its own success. it is repeated, important, people in iowa have been told so many times how important they are, they have come to believe it, and they are participating. it is a great statewide exercise in civic education. it attracts people into the process. people can show up and later run
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for office. i met the governor outside a precinct caucus in 1987. it is an entry point for people to get involved. it raises some money. the events do cost a lot to stage. it is a great form of civic engagement with a lot of people excited about it. given the passion that exists now, it drives turnout on both sides, particularly on the democratic side. this campaign ramped up the day after the 2016 election and democrats said, we have to do something to stop trump. it has been earlier and bigger than ever before. host: iowa's first in the nation status is routinely challenged, often on demographics and size of the state. make the case for people around the country. why does iowa deserve to be
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first? mr. yepsen: it is first because that is the way the parties set up their rules. i think the iowans in the 1970's did not know what they were doing when setting up the event. they did not anticipate it would morph into this but they knew they would be first. there was some talk that harold hughes, then the u.s. democratic senator from iowa was thinking about a presidential run in 1972 and there was talk about doing this event to help him. the fact it is first continues because the country cannot agree on a different way to do it. so inertia keeps it going. there is also campaigns who have a vested interest in this process and they fight the next
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fight, even starting now. it is significant to me that mike pence will be in iowa before the caucus doing a buzz trip in western iowa. so we already have the beginnings of the 2024 race. in case democrats do not win the white house, there will be about 15 people who have spent time here in iowa as candidates and the idea of changing the rules will not go over well with them. they say, wait a minute. i have an investment in iowa and new hampshire. so they are not interested in changing the rules and we could have a number of presidents on their second go and we are
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seeing a lot of political figures working this hard who will be political leaders in america for the next generation. so they are not interested in changing it. no one can agree on a different way to do it. some of the criticism comes from people who lose campaigns here, who are jealous of the influence iowa and new hampshire have. so if everyone could agree, the demographics of the state, it is a lily white state, rural. but the argument is made that that is not all bad. it provides a big boost to the first african-american president. it elevated hillary clinton some and was an early victory in 2016. on the republican side, they point out ted cruz, marco rubio,
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cuban-americans have come forward and won. and pete buttigieg is poised to get a big boost as the first openly gay presidential candidate. so there is a fearing a lot of iowans have that yes, we are white, but this is not a hostile place for candidates of color or diverse candidates to come and work. i think the biggest thing is inertia. what is the alternative? if you move it to another state, you could create the same argument. some states like illinois, which is often cited as a more typical state, have a great history of political corruption. it is not clear that the nation will concede to a state like illinois the right to have such a big influence when they have governors in prison. i do not think the country would buy into that. so every four years there is always this discussion that this is terrible, we have to find another way to do it. the country cannot agree on a
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different way to do it. there are unintended consequences for other options. money and politics, you love a regional primary. what is happened in both parties to meet some of the criticism is that iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, and nevada are the jumping off point for both parties. that is specifically designed to meet some of the criticism. one more point i think that is relevant is the cycle. this is a rural state but that is not a bad thing for democrats. whether you like the electoral college are not, there is a rural skew to the electoral college. the founders set it up that way. big state, small state compromise. until you change the electoral college, that will continue to be the way we elect presidents. rural areas have a disproportional influence in the electoral college and hillary clinton lost in 2016 because
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democrats did not perform well in states like wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, even florida has a significant rural component to its electorate. so this is not a bad place for democrats the cycle to come and test their message and learn about how to address problems and concerns rural americans have. host: would you tell our viewers a little bit about your history covering caucuses? mr. yepsen: i am born and raised in jefferson, iowa and had no great aspirations as a young reporter about covering politics for the largest newspaper in the state.
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i was really excited to get a job at the des moines register in 1974 as a young reporter covering local government. i was given pieces of the 1976 campaign and more senior reporters were leading the charge.
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but i had a lifelong interest in politics. it happened to be that i was the right guy the right time as this unfolded. my own career evolved and left me in a position as one of the lead political reporters in the state covering presidential caucuses. the joke is that i am important every four years and then i turned back into a pumpkin. i think that is about right. host: you left the register a few years ago. what are you doing now? mr. yepsen: i am semiretired. i left the register to run the public policy institute at southern illinois university, paul simon left this after he left the senate. i work with students and talk politics. i taught a political writing class. i retired in 2016 and returned to iowa and iowa public television, iowa pbs was looking for someone to host a weekly news talkshow. so i am doing that, which keeps me a little bit covering the game, but primarily i am trying to be retired. [laughter] host: we appreciate you spending time with us. let me start with 1976, the first caucus you covered and the year the caucus really went on the map. it is all about jimmy carter. tell us that story. mr. yepsen: jimmy carter and hamilton jordan picked up on the theme that george mcgovern had. work hard in iowa. do well as a springboard into new hampshire to get money, momentum, media attention.
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so they raised the stakes. other candidates were coming here. it was the jumping off point and i think johnny apple was paying attention. they said the 1972 iowa was telling us something about the war. the national media started to pay attention. you have a rolling ball. politicians came, national media came, and that meant politicians wanted to spend more time here. it raised it to a higher profile. jimmy carter did not win the caucus but he got more votes than any other candidate. he was the uncommitted delegates especially got more votes but jimmy carter set the template and made it work, he went all the way to the white house and that really put the events on the map. as a side note, there were also some on the republican side, republicans did not do a lot of counting but there were some estimates made of president ford and ronald reagan strength as a challenger and president ford won but it was a weak showing and in retrospect it telegraphed that he had a very weak hold on the republican party and approved in november that he was
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unable to win a full term. jimmy carter put this on the map. host: we have some video about former president carter talking about strategy. >> it would be quite difficult now to do as we did and to campaign from schoolhouse to schoolhouse, courthouse and stand in lines and handout pamphlets early in the morning, meet with farmers, make speeches from the auctioneers desk and iowa. that is the way we ran our campaign. if i had then faced a candidate with $20 million in the bank who could dominate television in new hampshire or iowa, i seriously doubt i would have won in those
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states. host: do you agree? mr. yepsen: i think that is true. it has changed a lot since carter. there are some famous footage of him working on a new cooking show here in iowa, cooking a fish for dinner but the host. it was grassroots, small, much more fun, fewer reporters could hop in the backseat of a car with a candidate and drive off and have a good conversation. now the events of the years have changed and morphed and are much different than the earlier events. they are bigger but only because of size. it is not an intimate thing
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anymore. but the internet now, digital campaigning, a lot of paid television ads and digital media that has a big influence. money has changed. after citizens united, there was a lot more money in politics. so campaigns do not necessarily have to be here to generate media attention were to generate money. many candidates, we have two billionaires, tom steyer and michael bloomberg. so some of the rules of the game carter laid out in 1976 are starting to change. host: in 1988 there were competitive caucuses on both sides. for the democrats, the ultimate nominee, michael dukakis came in third. on the republican side, george h w bush came in third with 18%. what does that tell us about iowa? mr. yepsen: iowa winnows the field.
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and i have been winnowed in. the first function of iowa was to elevate a candidate or cull the field. host: senator dole competed a few times. he has credited his victories in the state to chuck grassley. i want to ask you about chuck grassley and tom harkin's influence on the iowa caucus. mr. yepsen: enormous. both influential senators. senator harkin told me in 1984 when he won his senate seat that harkin would not have gone to the u.s. senate if it were not for the organization the democrats build in 1984. ronald reagan was uncontested and they did not have the organization. so tom harkin said the caucus was a help for him to get elected to the senate. both are big on giving advice
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about how to campaign and issues and places to go and things to do. for the most part, i think they have stayed out of the game went endorsing candidates. i think senator harkin did once with howard dean, but they have been an important factor. host: senator harkin made a bid for the presidency in 1992. can you talk about that effort? mr. yepsen: he did not go anywhere.
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a lot of us wondered why he was trying to do it. i remember i was not dismissive of it because jimmy carter was not going anywhere. papers said jimmy carter is running for what? what i went with harkin to new hampshire to campaign, people were very welcome. hometown people tend to see their local person through a different lens than they see and the people in iowa and new hampshire see them. i have learned not to be dismissive of anyone at the early stage in the game. host: by 1996, president clinton was in his reelect. bob dole with pat buchanan on the race.
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would you talk about pat buchanan and the populist movement in the state and how it has influenced caucuses over the years? mr. yepsen: in the midwest, populism is an important strain in the politics of this region and has been since the country started. i think pat buchanan surprise republicans with how strong he was. that was a tea leaf for something to come and i think you can draw a line from his campaign straight to president trump's victories in the populism. but there is populism on the left. you saw it with george mcgovern and tom harkin's campaign. that is an important little touch of isolationism, a strain that exists in iowa politics. if you look at these results,
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you will see in midwestern regional advantage for candidates in either party. look at the names of people who have done well. mcgovern of south dakota. dole of kansas. gephardt of missouri. there is a home-court advantage for candidates from the midwest and i think probably a little bit of that in the new england region for candidate campaigning. susan: in addition to the populist part of the party and their appeal to candidates, chris and conservatives have had an important role to play in iowa. can you explain how? david: religion is an important part of american politics everywhere and it is true here. there is a religious left. if you think about it, go back to slavery. the church and religion played
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an important role in the abolitionist movement. in prohibition, the church was very influential. the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement. so i do think religion is an important factor in politics and the states for both parties. on the republican side, it has become more pronounced. you particularly saw that with the candidacy of pat robertson in 1988, where he beat george h w bush at a straw poll leading up to the caucuses republicans held. his strong showing. that to me was a really key point because it brought a lot of religious conservatives into active politics. before, many religious conservatives sort of felt they should stay away from politics,
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that politics was dirty and they should not get involved. robertson really started to change that and brought a lot of new people into the republican party. many of them today are party leaders. but ever since that time religious conservatives, , evangelical voters on the right, have played an important role to the point where now the criticism on the republican side is made that all the republican caucuses seem to do is which religious conservative they will elevate to the nomination and party moderates are a thing of the past. susan: let's move to the next election cycle. in the nation was just coming 2000, off the impeachment of clinton. side, al gore,ic the incumbent vice president competed in the state, as did
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bill bradley, former new jersey senator. vice president al gore with 63%. bush, gop side, george w. keyes, thes and alan top in the state of iowa. senator mccain bypassed iowa that year. what should we know about that iowa caucus? david: we are starting to see a notion of three tickets out of iowa. i was say there were three plane tickets from des moines to manchester. first class, coach, and standby. because candidates were winnowed out. if you were not in the top three, your chances were limited. you did not get much of a bounce. so that was at work on the republican side. on the democratic side, gore, bradley contest, gore was the winner handily. bradley was more to the left. the issue was health care.
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what we were starting to see by that time is on the democratic side, while the accusation is made that the whole process pulls democrats too far to the left to get elected in november, it is also true that among different fields of candidates, a more centrist democrat will do well. going back to jimmy carter. there were a couple of candidates to his left in the 1976 campaign. gore was more in the center than bradley. bradley was more on the progressive side. i tend to keep that in mind when you see a large field of candidates like this time. who is getting to the center? who is in the middle? it is not always the most liberal candidate in the race who wins. susan: 2004, bush reelect. on the democratic side, field of
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candidates. john kerry came in first. john edwards, second. howard dean, third at 17%. richard gephardt, fourth at 11.2%. here is a piece of video from the 2004 iowa caucuses that has become iconic. i think it is fair to say. we will watch and have you talk about the impact of this moment in iowa that year. [video] >> you know something? not only are we going to new hampshire, we are going to south carolina and oklahoma and arizona and new mexico. we are going to california and texas and new york. we are going to south dakota and oregon and washington and michigan. then we are going to washington, d.c., to take back the white house. david yepsen, he is clearly having fun in that video. what did it do to his candidacy and why? david: well, i think it
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effectively ended it. that was too aggressive, too hot, too excited. it did not look presidential. remember this was the night he , finished third. this did not happen before the caucuses. it happened immediately after. i think it finished his candidacy. he has already failed to meet expectations. governor dean came here and on the strength of the antiwar movement surged into an early first place. could not sustain it. but he other candidates started to attack him and he wound up finishing third and that was interpreted as a loss. i ran into governor dean and the in fact, convention and he said, if you tell me when i first started coming to iowa i would finish third, i would say great. but since i had been in first place, he was not what was expected by the political community so interpreted as a
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loss and that dean scream hurt him nationally. it is interesting. people in the hall did not see it as a bad thing at all but the directional microphone he was using and what happened on television really made him look very nonpresidential. susan: how do you think that moment would play in the way we practice politics in 2020? david: it might be more acceptable. [laughter] everyone seems to be screaming. i always think a candidate for the presidency has to have some gravitas to be taken seriously. there are a lot of protest candidacies. a single issue candidacies and people of other agendas are trying to sell books or whatever who get involved. i think it is ok to be angry. you look at who was doing well. you could probably get away with it more now but even so, you
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cannot look unhinged like he did. [laughter] and the way it came off on television was horrible. susan: 2008, competitive on both sides. we'll start with the gop. mike huckabee came in first with 34%. 13%romney, john mccain just . the eventual nominee. and ron paul 10%. we have some video from governor huckabee on election night. >> 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. tonight it starts here in iowa , but it does not end here. it goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. [applause] one year from now.
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susan: david yepsen? david: again, the importance of the religious conservatives in the republican party. huckabee mobilized them. he was a very effective speaker. he was part politician, part preacher. he came from hope, arkansas. where president clinton comes from. i'm ever the joke in that campaign was what is in the , water in hope that enables fiery candidates to come and do so well? the other thing i remember that was the first time the three tickets notion was broken and john mccain finished fourth and went on to win the nomination. so now there are four tickets. first class, coach, standby, baggage. [laughter] side: on the democratic that year was the year the
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turnout was the highest in iowa history. bark obama came in first, heli clinton in third place. we're going to watch video of ultimately president obama. candidate obama proclaiming victory. [applause] >> thank you, iowa. know, they said this day would never come. [cheers and applause] they said our sights were set too high. they said this country was too divided, too disillusioned, to ever come together around a common person. but on this january night, at this defining moment in
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history, you have done what the senate said we cannot do. [applause] >> this is a great night for democrats. we have seen an unprecedented turnout here in iowa, and that is good news, because today we are sending a clear message that we are going to have change and that change will be a democratic president in the white house in 2009. [applause] susan: david yepsen? david: what a campaign that was. the first african-american with a serious chance of winning. first woman with a serious the chance of winning. very tough for democrats to sort out and a really charismatic figure in john edwards was involved in the race. and there was a big question if
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-can a woman win? canon african-american women? winning in iowa was very important to barack obama's campaign psychologically. it signaled to other african-american voters he could win white votes. it did move numbers in south carolina were over half that electorate is african-american. so that was important not only for bark obama but also in the , history of race relations and in american politics. it put aside this unelectability thing that was at work. i think hillary clinton put a big crack in the glass ceiling, but the obama people did something really clever that really hurt her kept her from , winning. on caucus night, people show up and break into preference groups
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and alot delegates. the obama people wanted so badly to see that she finished third as opposed to second because it would be more damaging to her, that the obama people were so sophisticated, there was had plenty of people. they would win all the delegates they can win. they would take some of the people and send them over to the edwards campaign, the edwards camp, so that he would defeat her for the second place. a lot of anger about that. that practice has now been in fact now outlawed in the , rules for the caucus. so that was an interesting wrinkle to that campaign. but i think iowans were really proud of that and barack obama was grateful and carried the state twice in the general election. and in a way, some of those tests are still going on this year and iowa being asked to test the electability of a
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woman. that is an argument being discussed now. and also whether the country is ready for an openly gay candidate. mayor buttigieg is doing quite well here. this be an opportunity for the may country to seriously contemplate the notion of an openly gay president. susan: one key to that caucus success for obama was the involvement of young people in the state. have young people stayed involved subsequently? david: well yes. , it is a changing group of people every cycle. some of the people in 2008. they older now. but that is true a lot more , younger people. interesting thing to me, a lot of them gravitate toward pete to -- buttigieg. but bernie sanders attracts some
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of the youngest people in the campaign. you can participate if you are 17, as long as you are and eligible voter in november of 2020. so, yes. it is refreshing. the energy, activism, all the candidates are putting emphasis on attracting younger voters. many of them tend to be concentrated on college towns. one of the things that a significant is in addition to , reporting the number of delegates the candidate wins, they are going to report the total number of people who show up for the candidate. that is important because after you win all of the delegates in iowa city, the next 150 people you have really don't count for much. if you show up, your preference now voters will, will be reported by the state party on caucus night and that will be an
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interesting test because it could be confusing to people because they will be in the -- there will be the initial preferences and how the delegates broke down. in a race as competitive as this, there is a real prospect you could have someone winning the most votes but not getting , the most delegates. susan: since you said the expectations game in iowa has always been an important story. this could add to that. david: exactly. the expectations game. you have to surprise the media. you have to surprise the political community. you need to come to iowa and do well and have reporters and the community say, candidate so-and-so is doing well. but you do not want to get it to the point where they are predicting you will win. howard dean soared initially and
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it resulted in attacks on him that brought him down. we are seeing the same thing play out in this campaign. elizabeth warren shot to the top and pete buttigieg moved up to the top but their campaigns have sagged. have movement up so people say good things about their campaign. but you don't want to come out of this like howard dean who finishes third but it is seen as a defeat that he did not do as well as expected. susan: back to when president 2012, obama was seeking reelection, on the republican side there was an issue with how votes were tabulated. the results that night were close. let's watch a video of the candidates and their statements to supporters on caucus night and then talk about the outcome. [applause]
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[video] [applause] >> thank you. thank you. game on. >> we do not know what the final tally will be, but congratulations to rick santorum. this has been a great victory for him. he has worked very hard in iowa. we also feel it is a victory for us. for ron paul as well. ron paul had a great night. susan: that iowa caucus, mitt 2012 romney was declared the winner on caucus night by less than 10 votes. my notes say eight votes. days later, the victory 16 officially went to rick santorum by 34. what happens and what has the state done to fortify itself against this happening again? david: well what happened is rick santorum was cheated. he won and did not get credit for it.
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what is the caucus victory? it is media attention. it is money you raise off that momentum. to be denied that on opening night, you cannot come back two weeks later and take back the time magazine cover you got. so he was really cheated and that was a sad episode. it's the caucuses have always been criticized for the convoluted counting system. it is complicated and not a primary, which is very clean. you go in and vote and the numbers are counted. these are straw votes on the republican side. in other it, they put a slip of paper in a box and then count it. the democratic side is initial preferences. and delegates. it is confusing. there are a few thousand precincts and all kinds of opportunities for counting to go wrong. that is one of the criticisms that has been made from both parties. they have both tried to get it right and accurate and
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verifiable. there is not much tolerance for error in the way we tabulate elections after 2000. so the standards are different than they were in 1976 or in 1984. in john glenn finished way back 1984, in the pack in the democratic party and they were sure walter mondale won. and gerhart came in second. will that is terrible. they left john glenn by the roadside when he might have done better than the reporting. so both parties are watching this closely for how they tabulate the votes and how quickly they get them and making sure they declare the right winner. you can mess up a race and go because back and get a recap for sheriff but if you mess up the caucus, you cannot go back and take back the time magazine cover.
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to potentialition miss counsel, now everyone that worries about hacking. what has the state done technology wise to fortify themselves against hacking? david: both parties are trying to have secure systems. they have created apps to count results. they have backup systems so there will not be a short count. in 1980, when george h w bush defeated reagan and iowa and people thought they got cheated because the computers went down when bush was ahead. bush people say they went back and verified. and we did win. but the point is the parties are , trying to develop systems to provide verification and limit the ability for someone to hack into it.
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it would take a very big conspiracy to manipulate the results at most points along the way and we would certainly hear about it. and see about it. but anything is able to be hacked and it has to be a separate count and a verification that the numbers reported on caucus night is what happened at the precinct and you do not have a situation like in 2016 when a republican did not get the results and went to bed and had a fiasco over santorum ann romney. and who won. so they are aware of it. i am not sure they will ever buti am not sure they will ever guess a 100% ironclad system. susan: in 2016, we're gonna start with the video hillary of clinton donald trump on caucus night. >> as i stand here tonight
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breathing a big sigh of relief. thank you, iowa. [applause] i want you to know i will keep doing what i have done my entire life. i will keep standing up for you. i will keep fighting for you. i will always work to achieve the america that i believe in, with a promise of that dream we hold up to our children and grandchildren never fades. [applause] >> unbelievable. i have to start by saying i absolutely love the people of iowa. unbelievable. unbelievable. on june 16, when we started this journey, there were 17 candidates. i was told by everybody, do not go to iowa. you could never finish even in the top 10. and i said, but i have friends
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in iowa. and there are a lot of people in iweb. i think they will really like me. let's give it a shot. they said, don't do it. i said i have to do it. and we finished second, and i want to tell you something. i am just honored. really honored. susan: very close between so hillary clinton and bernie , sanders. not even one full percentage point. and then bernie sanders went on to have a decisive victory in new hampshire. what should we know about the last go around? in iowa and ultimately new hampshire? david: well, the fiasco in iowa, the close count, is one of the reasons the rules, the big reason why the democratic rules is changed. this notion that everyone's vote should count is important. in fact, senator sanders' people believe to this day that they had more people showing up for him then hillary clinton had for her.
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she had a small percentage more delegates than he did. that is what was being counted that year. so people said she one. and she grabbed it and said i wanted and ran with that. now that will not happen again. because energized the sanders it really energized the sanders people. felt a little cheated and i they think that was a help for him going into new hampshire. it's not always good to win in iowa because you become a big target in new hampshire. like to make up their own mind. voters there they like to say, we pick presidents here. and so i think it put her at a , disadvantage heading into new hampshire. side, the republican donald trump finished second place. he was not happy. he acted happy, but behind the scenes he was very upset. he thought people were playing games by saying ben carson was
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not dropping out of the race on caucus day so a lot of those votes went to ted cruz, enabling ted cruz to win. nevertheless, it was enough to get trump on the ticket. susan: we have about four minutes left. last question. on politics and policy. how is the economy doing in iowa factor when people go to the polls. and the state has been impacted by the president's policy on tariffs? david: the economy is doing well, not as well as in other parts of the country. a lot of uncertainty in the farm belt. farm bankruptcies are going up. it is important to remember that people think of iowa as the farm state. it is a rural state. the financial services sector is but actuallythe financial services sector is more , important to their economy. rural america has been hit hard by bad weather and tariffs.
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the trump administration is very mindful of that and poured billions of dollars into aid to help farmers get through the bad patch. we all keep waiting for the effect of the tariffs to turn into a bad political story for trump and i do not think it is happened yet. it may. but right now there is a little more optimism in the rural parts of the state that maybe the tariffs episode is behind the country. so i think the state probably leans republican at this point. i think other observers of this feel the same way. it is not been a fatal blow. in fact the challenge, what is going to change this and some of the models of the electorate show iowa probably would vote republican.
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but what is changing is the arrival of young people. if millennials, generation z, the youngest voters come roaring into the electorate as we see they are doing with issues like climate change, that could change the equation. so iowa is in play. the economy is ok for a lot of us, but there are a lot of people still working two jobs and the growth in the state has not been what it is in other states. susan: my last question is a personal one. for decades of covering the iowa caucuses. what is the moment for you that is the most memorable, that you think about all the time when you explain what the caucus is all about? david: just the up close and personal nature, particularly the access you have to candidates. i cannot think of any one. i've had great opportunities. chance toul for the
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watch this unfold. have great seats in the game. two [laughter] to see the best people in american politics. the best candidates, staff, media people. it has been humbling to me to think i have had a response covering the early building in covering the early stages of the race for the american presidency. it is sobering. yepsen, i hope you do not mind if i w the dean of american politics. thank you for spending an hour with c-span. ♪ all q&a programs are available on our website or as a podcast at c-span.org. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] our c-span campaign 2020 bus
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is traveling across iweb. ahead of the caucuses next week asking voters what issues should presidential candidates address? >> one thing i want presidential candidates to talk about is how we can make our democracy work again. whether that is electoral reform, or making sure that we abate gerrymandering and stop tax on our democracy, i want to make sure that candidates are committed to making sure our government works for the people and not the other way around. >> i was a foreign policy. i was really excited in the last debate when it had more speaking time for the candidates to talk about their foreign policy objectives and how they would do things differently than the trumpet administration, especially after the assassination of general solemani. i think it is important we have a president in the oval office to understands the indications of escalation in the middle east . and who also listens to
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intelligence can unity officials who advise his decisions. >> i would like to see the prison industrial, looks and the ms. luke perry dust real -- military industrial complex expunged. we need to expunge criminal records in the united states for things like possession of marijuana, because it cannot be illegal in the first place. >> i think one of the most important issues for any candidate to be addressing this year is climate change. and the second most important issue should be immigration. is a seriouse issue we all need to face. if someone does not do it in the andrnment, we are helpless the only thing that can happen is a situation that we would not want for our children to have in the future. >> voices from the road, on c-span.

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