2016-02-03 / Political Page

Iowa Caucus

Clinton-Sanders Almost A Tie
BY JOHN TOSCANO

When the voting was over in Iowa on Monday evening in the caucus battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, there was no apparent winner – unbelievably the Democratic voting ended in a tie – Clinton at 49.9 percent, Sanders 49.6 percent and Martin O’Malley 0.5 percent.

It took some time, but the unusual result, the first in the nation to select a Democratic Party nominee for president in the November elections, was declared a tie, officials said, and the combatants will share Iowa’s portion of delegates at the party’s convention this summer.

As the voting approached, Clinton’s email problems cast a cloud over her campaign and Sanders was making a valiant effort to stage an upset.

In the hectic final week leading up to the crucial meetings and vote for Clinton or Sanders, newspaper headlines detailing her email woes were as plentiful and interchangeable as those describing the frantic, down-to-the-wire activity all across the state to close out the campaign.

The email situation also increased the pressure on caucus members as the discussions and deliberation went on, but the final decision went Clinton’s way this time.

Now it’s on to New Hampshire and that state’s primary to select the major parties’ presidential nominees next Tuesday.

Sanders has been leading Clinton in the Democratic Party contest there.

The latest chapter in Clinton’s email problem emerged in last Saturday’s (January 30) newspapers, just three days before the caucuses and the Obama administration admitted for the first time that Clinton’s email server contained top secret messages. However, the State Department emphasized that the documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent.

This latest disclosure might force Clinton to be subjected to further scrutiny in a matter that’s been going on since almost a year ago.

Clinton’s only defense was that this batch of emails were not marked classified when sent out by her. An FBI investigation is still going on. Release of more emails is now set for February 29, so Clinton will have some breathing space until then.

Fortunately, neither Sanders, nor most other candidates have further bothered Clinton by bringing this matter up in the campaign. Sanders has followed that pattern since his earlier debates with her.

But, Donald Trump, never missing a beat, did have a comment. He was quoted in the Daily News as stating: “The new email release is a disaster for Hillary Clinton. At a minimum, how can someone with such bad judgment be our next President?”

Sanders continued his assault on Wall Street in the closing days of the campaign last week, including a new ad which repeated his attack on Goldman Sachs’ role in the 2008 financial meltdown. While Sanders included blasting Clinton for her close ties to the financial sector, he also mentioned Sachs’ paying high speech-making fees, but glossed over Clinton receiving more than $600,000 for one speech.

Elsewhere, Sanders continued to press for universal healthcare, paid family leave, and free college tuition, among other proposals, and Clinton also continued repeating her proposals on these and other subjects.

Along the way, Clinton received the endorsement of The Des Moines Register and campaigned with Planned Parenthood officials to underscore her long support of women’s rights and healthcare. Sanders continued his outreach to local colleges to pursue his interactions with students to reinforce their support for his candidacy, which is the major focus of his campaign.

At a rally at Grinell College, he reinforced his liberal positions and his opposition to the Iraq War, and, as usual, noted Clinton’s vote in favor of that war.

During the week, Sanders released the detailed results of a doctor’s visit and examination, which found the 74-year-old candidate in “overall very good health and active in your professional work,” according to the doctor’s report. If elected, Sanders would be the oldest President to ever assume that office.

As for Clinton, the usually smiling, exuberant 68-year-old pol, was not quite herself, perhaps because of all the commotion over emails and the number done on her by Donald Trump.

“But in the last week, something shifted, as Mrs. Clinton faced sagging pol numbers and the reality that she could endure another loss in the caucuses, this time to Sen. Bernie Sanders…” Amy Chozick wrote in the Times.

Then last Thursday, at a campaign stop at an ice-skating rink, Clinton grabbed a mic and told the crowd she’d be touring the room to chat with everybody there… and everyone on her staff felt she was over her funk and looking forward to the caucus voting, which turned out very good.

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