All three anchors led shows from Des Moines.
ABC: Kate Snow with Clinton, David Wright with Obama, David Muir joined Edwards on his all-night bus trip, Jake Tapper on Huckabee’s recent stumbles, including not knowing about Tonight Show picket line. John Berman with Romney, included swipe at Huckabee caring more about “the caucus in LA than the caucus in Iowa.” Ron Claiborne with McCain in NH, with McCain saying he’s running for a four-year term, not an eight-year term. Stephanopoulos predicted a turnout of up to 160k Democrats, 80-90k Republicans. Charlie Gibson looked at caucus’s impact on Winterset, IA, population 4,900. Candidates shared guiltiest pleasures– three of eight said chocolate.
CBS: Nancy Cordes led show with Huckabee’s “gaffe” crossing Tonight Show picket line, angering some strikers. Bill Whitaker with Romney, Kelly Cobiella with McCain, Dean Reynolds with Obama, JIm Axelrod said Clinton has 5,000 volunteer drivers ready for Thursday. Chip Reid on Edwards’ bus marathon; one crowd waited hours for a 3-minute visit.
CBS’ Campaign Notebook quoted “Republican sources” saying Thompson may drop out and endorse McCain after Thursday if he doesn’t place in top two. Candidates spent $65 million in Iowa this year, three times 2004’s total. Bob Schieffer said Iowa has a good record of predicting eventual nominees. Jeff Greenfield offered caucus primer, expected up to four candidates to drop out after Thursday.
NBC: Broadcast led with three back-to-back reports, starting with David Gregory on the GOP (Huckabee said he wants to “change the party” to focus on small businesses, middle class). Andrea Mitchell covered the Dems (mentions Clinton “taped cameo” on Letterman). Russert said intensity and uncertainty have stood out in the this year’s caucuses.