Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2008

Stay tuned, we’ll keep you up-to-date.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards fought for first Thursday in Iowa’s presidential caucuses, a multimillion-dollar exercise in grass-roots democracy and the initial, critical test in the campaign for the party’s 2008 nomination. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee vied for the Republican victory.

Iowans rendered their judgments in meetings at 1,781 precincts from Adel to Zingle, in schools, firehouses and community centers where the candidates themselves could not follow.

Email newsletter signup

Earlier, the contestants had their final say.

Huckabee told a crowd in Burlington, “It’s about believing in a cause,” a summation that rivals in both parties could easily embrace. Likewise Edwards’ plea to his backers in Iowa City: “This thing could be really close. … We need you to make calls, talk to your friends.” And Obama in Des Moines, when asked how he was feeling: “I feel great, although my throat. …”

Win or lose, there was little time for rest. New Hampshire’s first-in-the nation primary is set for next Tuesday, and the campaign quickly accelerates into a rush of contests culminating in more than two dozen on Feb. 5.