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Franken: Kerry gets boost in Iowa polls

CNN's Bob Franken
CNN's Bob Franken

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Bob Franken
Iowa

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) -- Three days before the Iowa caucuses, polls in the state indicate a tight race among four of the Democratic presidential contenders

The field of Democratic candidates narrowed Thursday when former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois quit the race and endorsed former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Dean, who leads in most national surveys, is now in a dead heat with Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri. CNN's Bob Franken reported Friday from Davenport.

FRANKEN: [Iowa], of course, is just crawling with candidates and volunteers who are turning what had been a race for Howard Dean, who was beginning to run away with it, into more of a dead heat.

It looks like the top four candidates are all bunched together, if one can believe the polls. The polls, of course, have so many variables that it's very hard to say how accurate they're going to be.

But right now, they're showing John Kerry has made a move that's probably the most significant part of the story in the polls.

This is a man whose campaign started as the designated favorite, but then he slipped over the year. It looks like he's beginning to gain traction in Iowa again and putting up quite a fight.

The man who has to win here is Richard Gephardt. Gephardt, a member of Congress in neighboring Missouri, has to show well here.

The man who also has to win here is Howard Dean. Howard Dean is the man who has moved up in the polls over the years and is now the favorite. Of course, that puts him in a position where he has to win or else he loses the expectation.

The expectation is that the caucuses on Monday are going to draw very large crowds. It depends whose large crowds.

That will probably be the main factor in deciding who's going to walk out of here with a victory and walk into New Hampshire and begin the second phase of this ritual we call a U.S. presidential campaign.


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