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Clinton brings doughnuts

Clinton brings doughnuts

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Hillary Clinton sought to bolster a group of 60 volunteers in her south Des Moines office by dropping by Monday morning — accompanied by her daughter, Chelsea — with glazed doughnuts and coffee.

"I had to stop by and tell you how much I appreciate your hard work," Clinton told them, before taking a few selfies, signing some books and taking a picture with two young women. "I thought I'd bring you some unhealthy snacks!"

Former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Clinton supporter, said in Des Moines that the former secretary of state "has a tremendous organization, better than even Obama had."

Sanders fan opts for cookies

Mike Michaels of Council Bluffs, a Perkins restaurant manager, planned to bring cookies to his Democratic caucus to entice people to join the Bernie Sanders group Monday night.

Michaels is a Sanders precinct captain. His caucus site was Hoover Elementary School.

Michaels said he and others made telephone calls and knocked on doors for months on behalf of the Democratic presidential candidate.

Michaels, 35, first caucused at age 18 for Democrat Howard Dean. He caucused for Barack Obama eight years ago.

"Now I'm here because Bernie Sanders is going to fix everything," he said.

Hopefuls eye weather

The campaigns were anxiously keeping an eye on the weather Monday — and not just because of concern about caucus turnout. The candidates were worried about how it might affect their rush out of Iowa.

Republican John Kasich was already in New Hampshire on Monday, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush following behind Monday afternoon, hours before the caucuses started.

The three had a light footprint in Iowa. They are banking instead on strong showings in New Hampshire's Feb. 9 primary to jump-start their White House bids.

Branstad boosts Bush

When he was governor of Florida, Jeb Bush cut the size of government and brought jobs to his state, Iowa's GOP governor, Terry Branstad, said Monday.

Branstad appeared with Bush at a town hall in Des Moines.

"He took Florida from being near the bottom when it comes to educational achievement to today fourth-graders in Florida have higher achievement in reading than we do in Iowa," Branstad told the hundreds who packed the room. "That's how good he did."

Branstad has not endorsed a candidate, although he has criticized Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for his stance on the federal renewable fuel mandate.

Road doesn't end in Iowa

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie noted Monday that the road to the presidency starts in Iowa — it doesn't end there.

"There is no wasted vote (Monday night) if you are voting for someone who you believe in your heart and your mind is the best person to be president," Christie told an audience of about 70 people at a lunch meeting of the Bull Moose Club in Des Moines.

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