Sen. Clinton Hosts 'Evening' in Iowa

The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; 11:22 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in yet another signal of her interest in seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, held an "intimate evening" with a handful of key activists with Iowa ties to talk about the unfolding race.

Those attending were leery of discussing details of the dinner conversation Tuesday night in Washington, but they came away with the impression that the discussion is only beginning.

"She definitely wants to continue to dialogue about Iowa," said JoDee Winterhof, a Democratic consultant based in Washington who has long ties to the state and its leading political figures. "She had lots of good questions and lots of good discussion. ... It was a small group and an intimate evening."

The dinner was the second such gathering Clinton has held in Washington with activists from a state that holds an important early test of strength. She met Sunday night with people from New Hampshire to talk about politics in the state that holds the nation's first primary.

Iowa's precinct caucuses traditionally open the presidential nominating season, and potential candidates have been organizing there for months.

Clinton, who is far ahead of potential rivals for the Democratic nomination in most polls, has not campaigned in Iowa but has moved in recent days to heighten her profile in the state.

Winterhof said the discussion was upbeat as Democrats assessed their chances in 2008.

"Democrats are in an awfully good mood right now," she said.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is eyeing a 2008 presidential bid, took a step Tuesday that no other candidate who gets in the race may dare _ he joined a fraternity.

Huckabee, a Republican, joined Tau Kappa Epsilon during a closed-door, hourlong initiation ceremony at the governor's mansion. The organization approached him about membership earlier this year.

"He's a distinguished governor. He's done an awful lot for the state as well as the country," said Kevin Mayeux, the fraternity's chief executive officer. "We've been very impressed with his character and the initiatives he headed."

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