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Top Democrats Reticent on Primary Choices

(Dita Alangkara - AP)
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By Chris Cillizza And Shailagh Murray
Former nominees and Former nominees
Sunday, December 30, 2007

The silence is deafening. So many prominent politicians, particularly Democrats, have refrained from endorsing a presidential candidate. Are they drowning in a sea of good options, or terrified of making the wrong call?

Either way, the absence of these major voices is one of the more remarkable features of the 2008 campaign and may be contributing to the closely contested battles on both sides in Iowa, with the caucuses less than a week away.

Among the missing . . .

Former nominees

Al Gore: What time zone is the Nobel Prize-winning environmental crusader in today? After endorsing Howard Dean in the 2004 race and watching his candidacy go down in flames, he may not be eager to get involved again.

John Kerry: No one seems to have a clue which way the 2004 Democratic caucus winner may be leaning, although former running-mate John Edwards is definitely not on the list.

Local heroes

Sen. Tom Harkin: His wife, Ruth, a political player in her own right, is a staunch Clinton supporter, but Iowa's senior Democrat is lying low.

Sen. Chuck Grassley: The GOP icon declared long ago that the Republican field was simply too muddled to pick sides, and that he probably would sit out this cycle. Allies say that's not likely to change.

Liberal icons

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: With so many Senate colleagues running, it's like picking which child you love best.

Sen. Russ Feingold: A hero to the antiwar left, but has his own presidential ambitions to protect.


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