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Iowa, four years ago

I have been thinking about what we are going to need to do for the Jan. 4th paper, when we will run the results of the Iowa caucuses. So I went back to look at the paper from Jan. 4, 2008, to look at what we did then. (This is a lot of how we get started in our thinking; looking at what we did last time. The trap, of couse, is that this isn't the best way to innovate. But anyway.)

I was reminded that four years ago, if Barack Obama wasn't in the race, John Edwards would have probably won the Democratic Iowa caucuses, and with that momentum, he might have gone on to win the nomination over Hilary Clinton. Obama got 38 percent in Iowa, Edwards 30 percent and Clinton 29 percent. 

In the Rob Christensen/Jim Morrill story about Edwards' 2nd place finish, we quoted an ECU political science prof as saying "Edwards is in big trouble."

Little did we know.

On the Republican side four years ago, Mike Huckabee won Iowa with 34 percent, followed by Mitt Romney, with 25 percent.  The eventual GOP nominee, John McCain, got 13 percent.

On our Jan. 4, 2008 front page, we ran mugs of the top vote-getters across the top of 1A. McCain's showing was so feeble that he didn't get a picture. He was listed as an also-ran with Fred Thompson, who also got 13 percent. You know, Fred Thompson of  Law and Order fame.

This year, the focus will just be on the Republicans, and it is worth remembering that the Iowa caucuses can be predictive except when they're not. Jimmy Carter put them on the map and Ron Paul may take them off.

And at the end of next month, four years to the day after Edwards quit the presidential race, jury selection is scheduled to start in his trial in federal court in Greensboro.

"By the People": HBO's look at the Obama campaign

Tomorrow will be a year to the day that Barack Obama was elected president of these United States.

With all that has happened since then, it's getting harder to remember the headiness of that time -- whether Democratic or Republican or Independent, you can't dispute the historic nature of the 2008 election.

HBO's "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" (9 tonight) reminds us not just of election day, but President Obama's journey to his victory. And even if the memories and the emotions linger, you'll still learn something.

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