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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Votes 2004: The Iowa Caucuses

Aired January 19, 2004 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Iowa

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fellow Americans, this is the moment that we've been waiting for.

ANNOUNCER: They've been running for over a year.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we're moving forward every day. You watch.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The power to change this country is in your hands.

ANNOUNCER: Getting known.

AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way to do it is to invest in job creation.

ANNOUNCER: Sharpening their message.

GEPHARDT: I think experience matters.

ANNOUNCER: Asking voters for their endorsement.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to be direct with you. I need your support.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, in Iowa, the voters speak. In living rooms, in school auditoriums, in church basements, democracy goes to work, as America votes 2004 begins, the Iowa caucuses.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from CNN's Iowa election headquarters, Wolf Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the epicenter of what may be a political earthquake.

Tonight, Iowa may matter more than it has since 1976, when Jimmy Carter came out of nowhere and ended up on the road to the White House. This is one night where we simply don't know the outcome in advance. At this hour, across the state, Iowa's Democrats are gathering. We have live cameras to take you inside some of the 1,993 caucus sites.

Right now, these people are being asked to divide into groups to show which presidential candidate they want to put up against President George W. Bush. We're going to provide you a front-row seat for this great American tradition.

For weeks, months, everyone thought they knew what we were going to see tonight. Experts predicted a showdown between Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean. Apparently, Iowa Democrats wanted more. Starting last week, the campaigns of Senators John Kerry and John Edwards took off. Will there be more than one winner tonight? We're going to be checking in with all our reporters at all the candidate sites.

But we can now report, based on very early indications of what people were telling us as they walked into these caucus sites, very early indications, we were being told that John Kerry, the senator from Massachusetts, apparently has a lead over both Senator John Edwards and former Governor Howard Dean, with Dick Gephardt trailing.

Early indications, Judy Woodruff, very early indications. It doesn't mean it's going to turn out like this by any means, but it does show that people walking in, based on our entrance polls, were suggesting that John Kerry was at least the first choice for many of them.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Wolf.

And we're going to be emphasizing all night long that what we're counting now is simply based on these entrance interviews with people going into the caucuses. But if this hold up, Wolf, if John Kerry comes out of Iowa with any sort of a significant lead, this race, this Democratic race for president, is literally turned upside down, because we are just at start, and here is someone who just two weeks ago had not been written off, but had been all but considered out of the running for a serious shot at the nomination.

BLITZER: All right, a strong showing, at least preliminarily, by John Kerry, much more on this coming up. Will there be other surprises awaiting us?

Let's check in with our reporters right now. They're over at the candidates' headquarters. Candy Crowley is with the one-time front- runner Howard Dean. Dan Lothian is over at Gephardt's campaign. Suzanne Malveaux is at the John Edwards camp. And Kelly Wallace is at the headquarters of John Kerry's campaign, which has in fact surged dramatically over these past few days.

Let's begin with Kelly -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I just got off the phone with an adviser to Senator Kerry, who is aware of some of these early numbers, but also saying it is still very early.

John Kerry himself saying himself days ago, there are three tickets out of Iowa, and he is looking for one of them. All along these past few days, aides have really been trying to lower expectations, saying they would be happy with third place, saying that would be a victory for a campaign that was somewhat written off by the pundits just a few months ago.

The senator himself, he does not like the front-runner label, but he does go into this caucus night in the surprising position of being at or near the top of the polls. And so what we have heard from the campaign over the past day is that, no matter what happens here, the Iowa caucuses, aides believe, will give Kerry more momentum going into New Hampshire -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Kelly, we'll be checking back with you.

Candy Crowley is standing by over at Howard Dean's campaign headquarters.

What's happening there, Candy?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Wolf, that earlier today this was a very upbeat campaign. I talked to several of the staffers over there who were confident of their organization being able to get the vote out. They said they had enough hard votes to win this. This will be one very shocked campaign if they don't.

I talked to one who said, look, everywhere you go in Iowa, you see those orange hats, the signs of the Dean volunteers all over the place. We're into the dragging period, where they go and say, OK, we know you're going to go for him. So come on and we'll take you to the caucuses. So this will be a very stunned campaign if, in fact, he does not come in first.

However, they will also tell you that this is a man who's been able to raise a good deal of money, a lot of it via the Internet. So he certainly does have the funds to move on and be very competitive -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Candy Crowley at Howard Dean's campaign headquarters.

Dan Lothian, he is covering Dick Gephardt's campaign. He's joining us live now -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Wolf, earlier, Dick Gephardt did come down here and talk to reporters. And we heard the same message that we've been hearing throughout the campaign when he's asked about poll numbers, when he's asked about whether or not he'll drop out of this race if he doesn't do well here in Iowa.

And he continues to maintain that he will win. The reason he says this is because he believes that he has the best organization here on the ground. He's already starting to look forward to New Hampshire and South Carolina. He plans to campaign in New Hampshire right through the New Hampshire primaries. He will be taking off for South Carolina tomorrow.

And even today, he spent some time doing interviews on black radio stations in South Carolina, the campaign very confident, saying that they have the money to move forward from Iowa -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Dan Lothian at the Gephardt campaign.

Suzanne Malveaux is over at Senator John Edwards campaign -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, while Edwards doesn't really have the endorsements of some of those big groups like labor or the appearances of some of those big political players, he has a very strong grassroots effort.

That's what he is counting on, for them to get out tonight. He is looking at those particularly in the Northwest, as well as the South, from rural and small towns, those where his populist message really resonates. And also, Wolf, in a bold strategy move here, the Edwards camp has arranged an alliance with Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

He has been low in the polls, 3 percent from the last Iowa poll. But the alliance agreement here is, if they don't get the 15 percent minimum, to go on, select delegates. And they'll go ahead and urge their supporters to go for the other side. Kucinich said it's not an endorsement. They still believe they have a viable candidacy, but it certainly could give Edwards the bump that he needs perhaps to move to the head of the pack -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux -- thanks, Suzanne, very much.

We'll be back to all of our correspondents, obviously, throughout this everything.

Once again, early, very early, indications suggesting that Senator John Kerry has a lead right now over both Senator Edwards and Howard Dean. They seem to be battling for second, but these are very preliminary indications based on what we call our entrance polls, no indication whatsoever that that's necessarily going to be the final result.

Our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, is here with us.

You've been looking at some questions we should be watching for.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Wolf, we've got four questions that are going to tell us whether this caucus night will be different from any other nights.

The first one, was there a late surge? We know the polls said that both John Kerry and John Edwards were benefiting from that. If these preliminary numbers hold up, it would indicate that there was, and we know who benefited, John Kerry.

Second, the Iraq war, this was the issue that put Howard Dean front and center, that got him all that money, that got him all that Web site and e-mail support. We're going to find out whether or not the votes for the war by Edwards and Kerry and Gephardt hurt, whether that was a voting issue. Third, turnout. And by turnout, what we mean here is, were there a lot of first-time caucus-goers? That would suggest that Howard Dean would benefit. If, on the other hand, the Edwards and Kerry people showed up independent of organization, it may mean that our conversations about organization were overwrought.

And, finally, we want to look behind the votes, behind the numbers, and ask, what made these caucus-goers make their choice? They actually aren't votes. That is, was it issues? Was it likability? Was it electability? And if it was electability, which pre-caucus polls suggested, then whose argument for electability won out? That's what we're going to be looking at tonight.

BLITZER: Very important questions. And we'll be focusing in on all of them, Jeff.

Judy, when we tell our viewers -- and we have to be very precise with them that our entrance polls are suggesting a strong early showing for John Kerry, explain to our viewers precisely what we're basing this on and why we have to be as cautious as we are.

WOODRUFF: We're basing it, Wolf, on something like 50 precincts around the state of Iowa where there were interviews done with Iowa caucus-goers, Democrats and independents, because independents may be involved tonight as well.

Going, they were asked questions, a number of questions. Among those questions, who at this point do you prefer? Now, the reason Wolf keeps qualifying this -- and we will be qualifying it until we have final answers tonight -- is because it is entirely within the realm of possibility that, once they get into that caucus, they may change their mind.

In fact, polls were showing coming into tonight that as many as 40, 50 percent of the people in Iowa were saying: We don't know. We may change our mind. But based on what we're seeing right now, Wolf -- and you've said it -- at this point, John Kerry has a strong showing among those early -- those initial preferences of caucus- goers.

BLITZER: All right, Judy, I want to show our viewers one of those caucus sites in Dubuque, Iowa right now. You're looking at these live pictures that are going on.

People at this point have been told they have to go ahead and move into various corners of the room to express their preferences in the first round of this caucus.

In fact, let's listen in briefly to see how it's going in Dubuque.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I'm guess I'm open to how you want to proceed. Do you want to hear from candidates' representatives or do you want to break into presidential preference groups? What's your pleasure?

CROWD: Break into groups.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Break into preferential preference groups?

CROWD: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.

We've got a number of rooms. There's two rooms here, the billiard room and the back adult center back there. I'd like the Kerry people to go to the adult center, which is back by the...

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all adults.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK? What? OK. Jerry (ph) will show you which room that is.

BLITZER: All right. In Dubuque, at this one caucus, one of 1,993 caucuses around the state, they're moving right now into various rooms to express their initial preference for the presidential candidates.

Some will express their preference for Howard Dean, others for John Kerry, etcetera. There are other caucuses going on around the state as well. In fact, this one we're looking at right now is a smaller caucus.

Let's listen in to see what's happening here.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF-MIKE) Can I get through here?

BLITZER: Just to brief our viewers, this is at a private home in Adair, Iowa, one location. There are various kinds of halls, various schools, community centers, YMCAs, church basements.

And in some of the smaller precincts, people are gathering in the living rooms of private homes. This is one of those living rooms, where they're just getting ready to separate into preferences right now. I don't know how much we can listen. But let's listen in, if we can.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it, in April, the convention?

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When? When's the Democratic Convention?

BLITZER: All right, that's in Adair, Iowa. People are getting ready to express their initial preferences.

It's a very complicated process, Jeff Greenfield, but you're going to help us understand what's going on.

GREENFIELD: Yes.

If you're used, Wolf and Judy, to the idea that you go to a voting booth and put a ballot in a ballot box and vote and it's counted, uh-uh, that's not Iowa. This is a multistep process whose complexity sometimes is baffling. And we have prepared a little package to show you what is going on and will go on. And it goes like this.

When I say it goes like this, what I mean is that, unlike the primaries, where we would show you pictures of people in the ballot boxes, what we have in process now goes, as I was saying, like this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD (voice-over): Step one, caucus-goers check in at the 1,993 precincts. After a half hour or so of preliminaries, they divide into candidate preference groups by moving into separate areas of the caucus room.

If you're for candidate A, you go to this corner, for candidate B, that one. Or you can even join an uncommitted group, no secret ballots here. Step two, precinct officials figure out which candidate groups are viable. In most precincts, that means a group has to have at least 15 percent of the participants at the caucus. Step three, if you're in a group that did not get 15 percent, you've got a half-hour to shift groups.

You can stay uncommitted. You can join with one of the larger viable candidate groups, or you and another unviable group can join forces. That's assuming you can agree on one candidate. Step four, the precinct delegates are awarded to the candidates based on the size of their preference groups.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD: And step five, the state party uses a mathematical formula to translate this total into a share of the 3,000 delegates to the state convention that each candidate will have won.

This number, what they call the state delegate equivalents, is the percentage numbers you'll be seeing all night. It's not one person, one vote, because, up to a point, these precincts only have so many delegate equivalents to offer. You can pack them, but you only get so many votes. And if you want to know, friends, how they conclude how many delegates each precinct gets, we've prepared this formula.

And I'm not kidding. This is how you compute the state delegate equivalent. I could explain it to you. Write me, e-mail me, at JeffYouCantBeSerious.com and I'll give you the answer -- Wolf.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: I think you are serious, though. That's the problem.

Judy, why do they have this complicated system in Iowa? People all across the United States, in fact, all over the world, want to know, why can't they just do it the normal way?

WOODRUFF: Well, you know, Iowa has a history, has a tradition of caucusing for local issues, for precinct issues, for community issues.

But what happened, starting in the early 1970s, in 1972, is that the Democratic Party decided that -- here in Iowa, decided that they wanted to have a significant role in choosing the Democratic nominee that year turned out to be George McGovern. And without going into all the detail that my friend Jeff Greenfield went into, they ended up by saying, we're going to formalize the caucus process.

You start with the precincts in January. You move on, as Jeff suggested, to counties in February. And then, on in March and May, you're on to the state conventions and choosing on delegates. That's more than you want to know.

(CROSSTALK)

GREENFIELD: They can't have a primary, because then they wouldn't be allowed to go first. And that's the key to this. Republicans do a straw poll. But Democrats, they got this.

BLITZER: The New Hampshire people would be very upset if they had an actual primary with real votes here in Iowa.

Let's go back to Adair, Iowa, that private home, where this caucus is now taking place. People are splitting up. They're going into various corners of this living room. They're also speaking, trying to encourage various friends and neighbors to support their respective candidates.

Let's listen in.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can't do that. He doesn't have the authority.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't have the power to do that as a governor. He does not have the power to do that.

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, he does. Oh, yes, he does.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not -- it's a national program. He doesn't have the power to do that as the state governor.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never mind. No way. No way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If John Edwards was here right now, he'd say, hi, how are you doing?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, how are you doing? Great to see you. You're such an awesome person.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: All right, it was hard to hear precisely what they were saying. I think I could make out that they were debating various preferences, some people supporting John Kerry, others supporting Howard Dean. We'll continue to check back with these people in Adair, Iowa, in that private home to see how they're shaping up. Iowa's Democrats are in the crossfire, clearly.

And all four of our CNN "CROSSFIRE" hosts are watching. Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, they are over at the Dean headquarters. Robert Novak and James Carville, they are over at the Kerry headquarters.

When all is said and done, how will tonight shake down for the candidates, Bob and James? Everyone is watching.

Let's begin with Bob.

What do you think? What is going to happen tonight when the dust settles?

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I think there's a lot of indications that most of the people going into the caucuses tonight, a plurality are for John Kerry.

There's a lot of indications of that. But this is not a primary, as you've just been explaining to the waiting world. It is not a primary at all. It is much more complicated. And that's where the second choice of this complicated process could undo what is really a surge for Kerry, who is, I think, the most popular, after all these months of campaigning, the most popular Democrat in the field in Iowa.

BLITZER: And earlier today, Bob, on "CROSSFIRE," you did predict that John Kerry would win. You may be right. You may be wrong. We simply don't know.

James Carville, what did you predict?

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I predicted that Kerry would win.

But it really doesn't matter what I predict. We're going to know in a couple of hours who won the thing and what the implications are, if we have a winner. And if Kerry does win, yes, it's going to be an enormous victory for him. So we're going to know here in due course.

BLITZER: Why do you think Kerry was doing so well, James?

CARVILLE: Well, I think he got his footing, and I think Dean dropped. I think doubt started to come in about Dean. He had some missteps.

And when one guy starts losing votes, the other guy has to gain them. They just don't go out where parallel lines go or something like that. And his campaign got a lot better. He made some changes. Mary Beth Cahill, Stephanie Cutter really came in and did a marvelous job. They good a ground operation here. And John Kerry got a lot better, as did John Edwards.

And, look, that's what happens. That is why this is the most exciting thing that happens on Earth. Presidential primaries are and the nominating process absolutely the most exciting thing in politics.

BLITZER: These guys know politics.

All right, James and bob, we're going to be getting back to you.

Let's go to your colleagues, Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala. They're over at the Dean headquarters.

Paul, let me begin with you. What was your prediction going into tonight?

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, Wolf, on CROSSFIRE this afternoon, I confidently, though ignorantly, I predicted John Kerry. I'm sticking with that prediction.

He's got a much better organization than they have ever let on. In addition to Mary Beth Cahill and Stephanie Cutter, who James mentioned, you've got John Norris, an Iowa veteran organizer, organizing the state, and Michael Whouley, who might just be the best organizer in the whole country now that Donna Brazile is out of the game.

So they've always had a great organization. They just pretended they didn't. And so the momentum that he's had at the end, plus the terrific organization that his team has built, I think makes Kerry the betting favorite. And I'll have you know, our ratings at "CROSSFIRE" must be pretty high among Dean supporters, because they've all reminded me that I didn't pick their guy now that I'm at their headquarters. So thanks for sending me here. (LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: All right.

Tucker, what did you predict?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I have a long history of reckless predictions, so I picked Howard Dean, against all evidence tonight, just on the theory that he's been the front-runner for so long, meaning long in political terms, a number of weeks, and that he has so many people on the ground, that it's sort of difficult to imagine him fading from pole position.

But it looks like he is. As Bob alluded to a minute ago, people who go into the caucus sites are polled, or surveyed, anyway. About half of those numbers have come back. And it looks like what we expected at this point, that John Kerry is out front.

I think the story, though -- there are a lot of stories. One of them has got to be John Edwards. If John Kerry was considered not a likely winner last week, John Edwards was considered all but dead. Check the pulse. This guy, it's just -- it's over. People were talking about, when is he going to go back to his career as a trial lawyer?

And, all of the sudden, he could come out in second or third, maybe even first place tonight. That's kind of -- that's incredible. What happened? I don't know. I don't know. I'll be interested to figure it out over the next week or so.

BLITZER: None of us knows really what's going on in these caucuses. We're going to check back with all of our "CROSSFIRE" hosts throughout this long night.

Let's show our viewers some pictures of caucuses under way right now throughout the state of Iowa, almost 2,000 of them meeting right now. This is in Adair, Iowa, in a private home. You can see, people are also eating in the midst of their caucusing, expressing their preferences. They're having a good time, hospitality. They're calling their delegates. They're trying to make sure that they're -- they're trying to make sure that their candidates get most of the delegates. We'll continue to watch what's happening in Adair, Iowa.

Here in Des Moines, this caucus is going on at the Greenwood Elementary School. People have separated. They've gone into their various sites. They're trying to cajole. They're trying to lobby. They're trying to get some of those who are uncommitted to support their respective candidates.

In fact, let's listen in to this caucus that's going on right now in Des Moines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone said you have 33?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we could use one.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... 32.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, if you have 32, we'll take your extra.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kucinich says they could use one extra person. Are you (AUDIO GAP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little more than one. I've got to get back to Chris.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're very short.

BLITZER: What they're fighting about in Dubuque at this one caucus is, some candidates don't necessarily have that 15 percent threshold, that minimum number they need to be viable as it's closed.

And they're trying to convince some of those who didn't necessarily get the 15 percent -- and here, you see them going into the corners at this one caucus in Dubuque. They're trying to encourage them to go on to some other candidate candidates. We'll continue watching all of these caucuses. We'll continue gathering numbers.

Much more coverage of the Iowa caucuses right after this break.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Who holds the records for earlier visit by a candidate to Iowa? Dick Gephardt, twice. In both 1985 and 1997, Gephardt visited the Hawkeye State on March 25, more than 3 1/2 years before the caucuses.

GEPHARDT: These wonderful people in Iowa.

ANNOUNCER: He also set the record for most visits, with 148 days in 1988.

GEPHARDT: This is your victory, too!

ANNOUNCER: Former Governor Howard Dean and Senator John Kerry lead the pack for most visits to Iowa for this year's caucus.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the Iowa caucuses, very dramatic developments unfolding right now. We have live pictures of several caucuses under way in Dubuque, in Adair, in Des Moines, various locations. These are only three of nearly 2,000 caucus sites around this state.

CNN's Kelly Wallace is over at John Kerry's headquarters.

It may be shaping up as a pretty good night for the senator from Massachusetts. What are you hearing over there? What's going on, Kelly?

WALLACE: Well, Wolf, I just got off the phone with a top adviser to Senator Kerry to see if the campaign would have any reaction, this adviser not wanting to say anything just yet.

About a half-hour ago, I talked to another adviser, the campaign clearly aware of these early, early numbers, but this adviser saying it is still very early indeed, John Kerry going into these last few days with momentum. What he didn't have, though, in these last few days, his voice. And for that reason, campaign aides decided to have him stay behind and not attend a couple of events earlier today, sending out surrogates instead.

And they decided to have him make his first appearance later this afternoon at a rally, a high school rally in Ames. And that is where it was one final last-minute push for this candidate to try and get supporters out to the polls.

All along, this campaign has been saying that there are three tickets out of Iowa and that John Kerry is fighting for one of those tickets. Well, it appears the campaign is confident he will get at least one of those tickets.

Our own John Mercurio is reporting that, according to Kerry campaign aides, the campaign is printing up several hundred T-shirts which will be given to the traveling press corps, all the press that will be going from Iowa to New Hampshire. And on that, Wolf, it says, "I got a ticket out of Iowa with John Kerry" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, we'll see what happens with John Kerry, shaping up, potentially, as a good night, but way, way too early to make any final, bottom-line conclusions, only early indications, very early indications, based on our so-called entrance polls questioning people as they were going in, that it looks like John Kerry is going to have a good night.

Let's go to one of those caucus sites right now in Dubuque, Iowa. There's some horse trading going on, some people trying to convince others to change their mind and support a different candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But by splitting yourself now, you're giving viability to other candidates. But you're going to be the ones moving on to continue the campaign that's not viable right now. You see what I'm saying? (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we need them to get more delegates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need the time to go back and see what our current count is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to do that, too. I believe I need one. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are up to 32.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Helen, are we viable?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are 32.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're over 32.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going -- hey, excuse me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, would you like to join the Dean campaign?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We could still give Kucinich a delegate. Have you given that delegate to any other person?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll give you a delegate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill is going to

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could be a delegate. Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. All right. I'll be a delegate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a delegate for Kerry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll go with Kerry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, absolutely, with Kerry.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: All right, we're going to continue to watch these caucuses, go back there, the horse trading going on, some of the caucus-goers who had supported a candidate who didn't necessarily get 15 percent being urged to change their mind and support a different candidate.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is watching all of this. Explain to our viewers, who might still be confused, what's going on here in Adair, Iowa.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, we interviewed people as they were going in and asked them to explain their initial preferences. One of the things we found that was very striking is this is a very anti-war crowd. Overwhelmingly, these people say they disapprove of the decision of the United States to go to war in Iraq. Now, this issue ignited the Howard Dean campaign some time back. So why isn't Dean doing better? Because -- and this is a big surprise -- the Iraq issue wasn't the top issue that voters cited as the motivation for their vote. They were more concerned about jobs, they were more concerned about health care than they were about the war in Iraq.

A second factor that went into these decisions. This was an electorate that is very concerned about being able to beat George Bush. You know, there's an old rule in politics: People don't pay attention to electability. In this -- in these caucuses tonight, being able to beat George Bush was a very powerful consideration -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Bill. Stand by. I want to go back to Dubuque, to this one caucus. It's fascinating just to listen in to see how these people are dealing with their preferences tonight. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dean just got five votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That still bothers me. This is going to bother me quite a bit. That's about the only thing that bothers me about this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's he say about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not really sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I mean, look at the rest of it, though. There's that whole section, all that section down there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree there.

BLITZER: All right. Well, that gentleman an Edwards supporter. You saw the -- you saw the little button he was wearing for John Edwards.

Let's go over to John Edwards campaign headquarters here in Iowa tonight. CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein is over there also, a columnist, of course, for "The Los Angeles Times."

Ron, I want to be very precise, and I want you to weigh in. Based on very preliminary estimates, entrance polls that we have, it looks like it's shaping up to be a pretty good night for Senator John Kerry, maybe not necessarily as good for Howard Dean and John Edwards. It looks like it's not necessarily shaping up as the best night for Dick Gephardt, although I have to caution all of our viewers these are very preliminary numbers, only expressing preferences going into these caucuses. All of these people more than capable of changing their minds as these rounds continue.

What are you seeing where you are, Ron?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, leaving aside the question of changing their minds Wolf, the fact is, historically, there's a gap between the findings in the preference poll and the way the delegates are allocated. Because of the rules of the caucus, it's possible that the vote share, as measured in the preference poll, is not exactly the same as the delegate share by the end of the night.

But having said that, look, if you look over the last week, the good sign for John Kerry and John Edwards, I think, in the polling that we've seen coming into today, is that they're moving up across the board within the party, Wolf. Howard Dean is somewhat isolated. He's a candidate very strong on the left. He's a candidate very strong with college graduates, more up-scale Democrats. Dick Gephardt is sort of a mirror image. He's a candidate very strong with blue- collar Democrats and union Democrats but not able to reach beyond that.

Both Kerry and Edwards show a much more diverse profile, and I'd be surprised if the poll doesn't continue to uphold that. They have a broad appeal across the party, and that could serve them well as we move forward.

BLITZER: All right, Ron, stand by because we're going to be getting back to you, checking in with you throughout the night.

Judy Woodruff, going into these caucuses, "The Des Moines Register" did have a poll yesterday showing John Kerry on top. So I guess, if he's doing well in our initial poll, which is not by any means the final result, it shouldn't come necessarily as a huge surprise.

WOODRUFF: No, that's right, Wolf. I mean, and this is -- to the extent that poll was accurate in "The Des Moines Register" -- and the methodology seemed to be good and solid that they used -- it isn't surprising. But we want to keep going back and telling our viewers again and again that until we get a hard picture of -- from actual precincts, which we're going to get, I think, pretty shortly -- from precincts, we can't be sure and we don't know what the delegate numbers are going to be.

Having said that, I will just add, you know, Ron said there's been a division at times between -- a gap between what the preference polls show and what the delegates turn out to be. Sometimes in a situation like this, you could have more delegates, percentage-wise delegates than what you have in the preference polls. So that could be what happens tonight. BLITZER: All right, Jeff, as we watch these pictures in Adair Iowa, Iowa, in a private home in Adair, Iowa, people continuing their debating, their -- their efforts to try to sway others, remind us why the most -- that the voters -- the people who are out there who get the most kind of support won't necessarily get the most delegates.

GREENFIELD: Well, if you get the most support, you'll get the most delegates, but it will not reflect, necessarily, how many people are there because there's an upper limit to how many delegates.

But I do want to add just one quick footnote. The person who had most at stake was Congressman Richard Gephardt, who won in 1988, who came into Iowa with the lead, who had labor support and who has very little going into New Hampshire and about whom it was said he has got to do well in Iowa to keep that campaign going. And we're not -- when you look at these preliminary numbers, ask yourself if these numbers hold up and have Dick Gephardt trailing, as these entrance polls are now characterizing, where does he go from here, if anywhere?

BLITZER: All right, well, let's go to Dan Lothian. He's over at Richard Gephardt's headquarters. What's the mood over there? The supporters of Richard Gephardt, what are they saying? What are they doing?

LOTHIAN: Well, the mood right now is we don't know because we don't have any supporters here in the room, mainly just the media here, and we have not been able to reach any of the top aides for Richard Gephardt. But we can only imagine that the mood would not be great. We have been leaving messages. Typically, it's been very easy to get through to them, and they have not been returning our calls. So I can only imagine that the mood is somewhat dark.

But we have to point out that these numbers are early, and we don't know how this night will play out. But it is important to point out that Richard Gephardt has always said that he expected to win here. Throughout the campaign on the trail, we have constantly been going after him and asking him, you know, What will happen if you don't do well here in Iowa? What will your position be going forward? And Jeff was talking about that. That's the big question. We don't know what will happen from here on out if he does not perform well here in Iowa.

It has been said, as you have mentioned, that this is a very crucial state for him to win. He says that he has the money to move forward from here into New Hampshire and into South Carolina. He's already been planning in New Hampshire to do a lot of campaigning there, has already been planning in South Carolina, in fact, plans to go there tomorrow. So that will be the important question. If he does not perform well here, if these numbers hold up, if they do reflect what we have been seeing in the polls, the big question is, What will happen to Dick Gephardt?

BLITZER: All right, we'll be watching Dick Gephardt. We'll be watching all of the candidates.

Judy Woodruff, let's take a look at this. Look at this. They got a calculator there in Adair, at that home. They now have to go ahead and do some calculation, some estimate. We saw that crazy equation that Jeff Greenfield had earlier. Let's listen in to see what's happening at this home right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is correct. Yes, it is correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me, jack.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Judy, as we see this, there are all sorts of caucus precincts, all sorts of caucus sites, some very small, some much larger. This is in a private home, obviously, a very small one. But you were anxious to make a point.

WOODRUFF: Well, I was just going to say, you know, that -- and we're going to be talking about this all night long, Wolf. But we are -- if, indeed, John Kerry is holding -- his lead that we see now holds up throughout the night, we are going to -- it seems to me it's going to be one of the great political stories of this decade, if you will, because here, just a few weeks ago, the former -- the Massachusetts senator was considered somebody whose campaign really was not getting off the ground. He was -- he had voted with President Bush on the war. He had been criticized for that by Howard Dean.

And you know, we just heard Bill Schneider say that the caucus- goers who were -- who answered questions tonight in those entrance polls said they were very anti-war. So if they're largely anti-war and you have a candidate doing well who voted with President Bush on the war, then, you know, it'll be interesting to see how that dissonance works itself out.

BLITZER: Anti-war, but they also suggested, according to Bill's numbers, that Iraq necessarily was not atop their priority list.

WOODRUFF: Exactly.

BLITZER: That may explain what's going on. In fact, let's go back to our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. He's looking at all these numbers, helping us better understand what's behind the events going on tonight. What are you seeing, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, Iowa is not supposed to be Kerry country. Kerry country is New Hampshire. He comes from the neighboring state of Massachusetts. He made a calculated strategic decision to campaign hard in Iowa because he was failing in New Hampshire. He was sinking in the polls. Iowa is supposed to be strong for Gephardt because he comes from a neighboring state. It's a very blue-collar farmer and worker state. It's supposed to be strong for Dean because it's a very anti-war state.

What was here for Kerry? He invested a great deal of money and energy and effort here because he was failing in New Hampshire, and it may have paid off. If he comes in first in Iowa, that turns out to have been a brilliant strategic move to boost his fortune in New Hampshire, which is a state he really does want to win.

BLITZER: All right, Bill, stand by. I want to go back to the home in Adair, Iowa. It looks like they're wrapping up their little caucus there. Let's listen in and see what the results are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you got it figured out?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you were second by me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who nominated him?

BLITZER: All right, just to explain to our viewers what's going on, this younger woman is going around the caucus room in this private home in Adair, Iowa, and they're deciding which of these citizens, of these neighbors, these residents there, these Democrats will actually go to the state convention and represent this precinct, represent this particular caucus in the state convention when they formally go ahead and decide how to divide up Iowa's delegates for the Democratic national convention, which will be this summer in Boston.

Judy, this is pretty fascinating, to go behind the scenes and see how these citizens are participating in these caucuses.

WOODRUFF: You know, Wolf, it makes me think that people watching this from all over the country are thinking, Hey, we want a caucus in our state because this means we'll get on television when we go out and think about who we're going to support who we want for president. This is democracy in action. And you know, there's been a lot of criticism -- Jeff, you and I have talked about it. Wolf, you and I have talked about this -- a lot of criticism of the Iowa caucuses because it's not one man, one vote, which is supposed to be the American way. But look, you know, you couldn't ask for a better example of democracy in action right here.

GREENFIELD: Oh, allow me a dissent.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: I knew you would disagree!

GREENFIELD: The problem is -- it's a great thing. The problem is very few people turn out for it. I mean, they're going to get maybe 20 percent of registered Democrats to turn out because it involves an investment. You do get more interested people. Next week in New Hampshire, roughly 70 to 80 percent of registered Democrats turn out. So yes, it's a nice thing if you've got three hours to spare. The question is whether this is the way you want to pick a president. I kind of like people going to the polls and voting and then 10 minutes later can go. It's a great system for activists, but there are real problems with it. WOODRUFF: But you know what, Wolf, 20 percent, according to the poll that was shown not too long -- 20 percent of the people who go to these caucuses to vote for -- to express a preference for a delegate are people who have met the candidate that they're supporting. They have met these candidates...

BLITZER: And they've made...

WOODRUFF: ... which is extraordinary.

BLITZER: ... a major commitment in bitter-cold weather to spend a couple hours arguing with their neighbors, their friends. That's a major commitment. It's not an easy decision to participate in these caucuses.

Bruce Morton has been covering the Iowa caucuses going back to 1972. He's at one of the caucus sites here in Des Moines. As we show our viewers pictures of other caucus sites, Bruce, give us a little flavor of what's going on where you are.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's going on right now is a lot of moving and shuffling and counting. This is Greenwood High School, an affluent neighborhood in Des Moines. They put out 280 chairs. They got 310 signatures on the petition. So there's been a certain amount of milling around from the start. A few minutes ago, they split into groups -- the Edwards people over here, the Kerry people back there, the Dean people in the far corner. We don't have final numbers yet, but this looks like a very good precinct for John Edwards. There are a few Gephardt people. His trade union movement isn't strong in this area. And there are a couple of Kucinich people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to sign first.

MORTON: And they're getting to the point now where they split again, and you know, the Kuciniches who didn't have enough people to get a delegate can decide where they want to go. The Gephardt people, if they don't qualify, can decide where they want to go. And I was just talking to an old national chairman of the Democratic Party, Charles Manatte (ph), who says this is democracy in action. One man's view -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Bruce Morton. He's covered a lot of these caucuses. We're going to be checking back with you throughout the night, as well.

I want to bring in Gordon Fischer. He's the chairman of the state Democratic Party here in Iowa. Mr. Fischer, thanks very much for joining us. Our early indications, based on the polling that we've done -- they're suggesting that perhaps twice as many Iowa Democrats will participate in these caucuses tonight as was the case only four years ago, when 61,000 Democrats participated in the caucuses between Al Gore and Bill Bradley. What are you hearing about turnout tonight?

GORDON FISCHER, IOWA DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: Turnout seems be quite good. It's at least good and it might be very good. We're getting anecdotal reports, for example, in Johnson County, where Iowa City is, University of Iowa is, and we're getting reports of 1,000 people -- 1,000 per precinct, which is pretty amazing because there's only 3,500 people per precinct. So we're getting pretty decent turnout.

I'm getting some reverberation here in my earpiece. But hopefully, you can under what I'm saying.

BLITZER: We definitely can understand what you're saying. Any problems so far? Tell our viewers when we might actually get the results, who won the Iowa caucuses.

FISCHER: Wolf, this is such a great night for Iowa Democrats because there are no reports of any problems. Things are running absolutely as smooth as possible. We've got no reports of any major problems or minor problems in any of the caucus sites. Things seem to be moving very, very well, as you can see yourself watching CNN and some of the precincts that you've been showing on CNN. And additionally, you know, our reporting system seems to be working also very smoothly.

So it's just a great night for the Iowa Democratic Party and a real tribute to the Iowa Democratic Party staff, which is generally -- you know, kind of a hidden secret of the Iowa caucuses is the Iowa Democratic Party staff is a bunch of 20-somethings, 25, 26-year-old kids who basically put this all together. And they may have pulled up one of the greatest nights in Iowa Democratic Party history.

BLITZER: And another hour or two hours? When do you think we'll know?

FISCHER: Oh, I'm sorry, Wolf. We're hoping that we'll have a pretty good idea by 10:00 o'clock Iowa time. In other words, 10:00 PM Central Standard time or 11:00 o'clock Eastern time.

BLITZER: All right, Mr. Fischer. We'll be checking back with you tonight, as well. Thanks very much.

Our own Larry King...

FISCHER: Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: ... has an incredible -- an incredible lineup coming up, starting at the top of the hour. Larry is joining us right now. Give our viewers a little preview, Larry. What do you have in store?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": I've got a great co-host, Wolf. You're one of the guests. Wolf Blitzer will be with us, and so will Senator Robert Dole and Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author will be aboard. And all of the major candidates, including the two in New Hampshire, will be with us at the top of the hour. So it's Blitzer, Dole and Woodward and yours truly, King, and then all of them. And we're going to have a rock-and-rolling time, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. It sounds like it's going to be a fabulous hour, as our viewers have always come to expect from Larry King. Stand by, Larry. Right at the top of the hour you'll be on board, as we show our viewers some more pictures. These are live pictures you're seeing coming in from caucuses around this state.

We'll take a quick break. Much more special coverage of the Iowa caucuses right after this.

ANNOUNCER: Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have played a major role in the presidential primaries. In fact, since then, the eventually nominee of each party has always finished in the top three. But the candidate who wins the Democratic Party nomination often does not finish first in the caucuses. Since 1972, it has happened only four times.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: History unfolding here in Iowa, the Iowa caucuses continuing at this hour. Let's show our viewers what's going on. You're looking at some live pictures, caucuses in Dubuque, Des Moines, Adair. The one in Adair, by the way, is at a private home, a small caucus. The one in Des Moines is at Greenwood Elementary School. The one in Dubuque at the YMCA. These people are expressing their preferences. They're trying to come up with some bottom-line numbers, who will emerge as the Democratic nominee, at least as far as these people are concerned.

Our newest political analyst, Carlos Watson, is here in Des Moines with us. Carlos, you're watching these dramatic developments unfold. We really don't know anything more than it looks, according to the early indications that John Kerry has taken somewhat of a lead, but that could clearly change.

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's very interesting. Judy made a point earlier that if John Kerry were to win, this would be a dramatic story. The reality is, whichever of these candidates win will be a big story. If Dick Gephardt manages to survive and win for the second time, that would be a story in and of itself. If Howard Dean, who's been under huge attack from his competitors, comes back, having led at one point just two or three weeks ago, and ultimately wins, he'll be able to argue that he's transformed the party, brought new people to the caucus and move on to New Hampshire in a strong way. And certainly, if John Edwards, someone who had been counted out, counted, you know, for dead in many ways two weeks ago, ultimately wins this, that'll be a dramatic story.

But what about the what-ifs? If for some reason Howard Dean doesn't win this, I think people will think about a couple of things. One, actually, the ads that were run in this race. John Kerry's gotten a lot of credit for the ads he's run here in Iowa, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the ads have been very compelling and have made people think at the last moment that here's maybe a choice. Howard Dean's ads have been very subdued in the last several days, and indeed, there were some negative ads that he pulled off the air.

The other thing I think people are going to spend some time thinking about was did he -- when the focus got turned to him, did he offer any new issues, other than health care and the war? And people may say, ultimately, he didn't, and that that was a mistake. BLITZER: All right, Carlos stand by. We're going to be checking back with you. Let's go back to Dubuque, Iowa, over at that YMCA, listen in. They're making some deals, apparently, some of these people trying to encourage others to support a different candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got two more. They're coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two just came in over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... 42 and 43. Thank you very much, folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you count yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did. I counted myself, 43.

BLITZER: All right, let me explain what we just heard. These were people who supported John Edwards -- who support John Edwards. In order to be viable in this particular caucus, you need 32 votes. That would be 15 percent, the minimal threshold to be able to move forward. Forty-three of those people support John Edwards. He is, quote, "viable" in this particular caucus at this YMCA in Dubuque. He will then, as a result, get some support as the next process goes forward. Fascinating to see how they do it. Pretty old-fashioned, the way they go around, Judy, and just count people.

WOODRUFF: I mean, he is touching people on the arm. You know, he went by the woman with the baby. He's going to around (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and then he's looking at them and saying, OK, we're counting you. We're counting you. This is...

GREENFIELD: Yes, I know.

WOODRUFF: We don't see this very often.

GREENFIELD: You know what else you don't see here? No secret ballot. You can't do that in a caucus, right? Now, some people think that lets you stand up and be counted. On the other hand, if your boss is there, your shop steward is there, somebody you owe money to, you know, a secret ballot's not such a bad idea when you want to make the vote -- which they don't have here -- count.

So I agree with you this is a night out. It's people who are involved. They care a lot. It just doesn't happen to be particularly democratic. The Republicans take a secret straw poll, and there you are.

WOODRUFF: You're for secrecy, Jeff. Is that right?

GREENFIELD: At the voting booth? You're darn right. BLITZER: All right, guys. We're getting some real numbers now for the first time tonight. These are numbers coming in from the state Democratic Party. Let's take a look at this. With about 32 percent -- 32 percent -- of the precincts of the caucuses now reporting to the state Democratic Party, look at this, 37 percent so far expressing their support for John Kerry, 33 percent for John Edwards, 18 percent for Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt at 11 percent, Dennis Kucinich at 1 percent.

Remember, this is with 32 percent, about a third of the actual votes. These are not polls. These are not entrance polls. These are not estimates. These are real numbers, Judy woodruff, that are coming in right now, with John Kerry -- with a third of the actual outcome clearly official right now -- John Kerry doing rather well.

WOODRUFF: Wolf, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think, I'm guessing, these numbers are coming in from rural precinct caucuses, where you had smaller numbers of people, where it was easier to get a total count and to call that count in to the state party headquarters here in Des Moines. I think that's likely to be the case because it's just logical. The larger caucuses around the state, it's taking longer. You're still showing on television Dubuque and Des Moines. They are still counting the people there, whereas the smaller ones, they probably already figured it out and they've called the numbers in, and you just saw that. It was 32 percent.

BLITZER: Jeff?

GREENFIELD: Well, that might -- that would -- that's a good theory because I want to agree with you for...

WOODRUFF: For a change.

GREENFIELD: No, it's a good point because you notice in those numbers, Edwards is substantially ahead of Dean. Don't take them seriously until we get a broader statewide picture.

WOODRUFF: That's right.

BLITZER: Yes, so it's still very, very early. It's two thirds still to go.

Candy Crowley, as we continue to see these people in Adair, Iowa, express their preferences, you're over at Howard Dean headquarters right now. What's going on?

CROWLEY: Well, I can tell you about a half an hour ago, we talked to campaign headquarters, and they said it's early. It's early. Tell them it's early. So obviously, they are holding out some hope. If Judy's theory of rural votes is true, that's probably good news for Howard Dean, especially when you look at the college towns. I don't know if they've come in yet. But Ames, Iowa City, he drew huge crowds in both places. He really was counting on the young vote to come in. So if those are some of the cities that are still out -- obviously, it is early yet with 32 percent. If these numbers stick and hold, however, this will be a big jolt to the Howard Dean campaign. They had more money. They had more volunteers. They had just about all of the advantages here in Iowa. To lose to Dick Gephardt, who was supposed to have such a big machine here, that's one thing. If you lose to John Kerry and John Edwards, who didn't have the kind of machine that Dean does, that's going to take some explaining -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Candy. We'll be getting back to you over at Howard Dean headquarters.

We're taking a look at these pictures in Des Moines, over at the Greenwood Elementary School. They're clearly raising their hands. They're expressing their preferences. They're moving on. But take a look. They're counting the actual number of people supporting respective candidates. This is the heart and soul. This is what's going on in Iowa throughout the state, although about a third of those caucus sites have already reported to the state Democratic Party in Des Moines.

Bill Schneider, you've got some numbers that you're looking at, as well.

SCHNEIDER: We do, indeed. And let's take a look at how anti-war were these Iowa voters? We asked them, Do you approve or disapprove of the decision to go to war in Iraq? And look at this. Three quarters of the voters in these caucuses disapproved. This was a strongly anti-war constituency, and this was the original decision to go to war. But should have been a gold mine for Howard Dean. Was it? Let's take a look.

These are the anti-war caucus-goers. How did they vote? Their first choice was John Kerry, who voted for the resolution to support the war in Iraq. Tied for second was Dean and Edwards. Kerry -- Kerry -- John Kerry, who supported the resolution to go to war, came in first among the anti-war caucus-goers. And how about that?

BLITZER: That's pretty amazing. That's how about that. We're going to get back to you, Bill Schneider.

Judy, as you hear these numbers coming in from Bill Schneider, you also see the real numbers, the official numbers coming into the state Democratic Party headquarters. Maybe we can put that -- those numbers up as you speak. You got to step back and take a deep breath.

WOODRUFF: You have to. Absolutely. This is fascinating because as we mentioned before -- you know, Bill's talked about this. A minute ago, he talked about it again. Now, if most of these Iowa caucuses-goers are that -- feel that strongly about the war, why wasn't Howard Dean, who was leading here in Iowa up until very recently, able to sell them on his formula for that because -- you know, because you -- he was -- he's the one candidate, along with Dennis Kucinich, who has strongly opposed this war, strongly opposed the Bush administration policy.

BLITZER: All right, we're getting some new numbers now, with 38 percent of the actual numbers reporting to state Democratic Party headquarters, real numbers, John Kerry still retaining his lead at 37 percent, John Edwards not far behind at 33 percent. Look at this. Howard Dean, 18 percent, Dick Gephardt only 11 percent.

Jeff, quickly, let's sum this up.

GREENFIELD: Electability. Even the people who are anti-war I think took a second look at Dean, took a look at Kerry, very strong ads, and said we got to have a national security guy to stand up to Bush. That was what the polls were saying before tonight. This may be what these numbers say tonight, that the anti-war vote is not prepared to go with a candidate unless they are convinced he can beat George Bush.

WOODRUFF: John Kerry also had Teddy Kennedy walk -- traveling around the state with him this week and last week, Teddy Kennedy a very vocal opponent of the war, but he was with -- and voted against the president on this resolution, but he's with John Kerry. And he said over and over again, Yes, we disagreed on that, but he's the best qualified man in this race.

BLITZER: All right, guys. We got a lot more to talk about throughout the night. Only 37 percent of the votes so far are in. We're going to continue to watch all of these tabulations as they come in. It's going to be exciting throughout the night.

For now, though, Larry King is standing by to pick up our coverage. Larry, you have a tremendous line-up, but we'll be reporting all the news throughout the hour.

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