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FROM THIS EPISODE

The acceleration of the presidential primary schedule was supposed to make the traditional early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire less important. But things haven’t quite worked out that way. The battle royal for the Hawkeye State, set for January 3--just over a month from now, could decide right then and there the nominees of both parties. Also, a preview of the Middle East peace conference, which gets underway tomorrow in Annapolis, Maryland, and Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott has announced he's resigning. what does it mean for the GOP? Marc Cooper guest hosts.

Producers:
Dan Konecky
Katie Cooper
Sonya Geis

Main Topic Reading the Tea Leaves in Iowa

All eyes are cast on the State of Iowa and the January 3 caucuses, which could be decisive in nominating either or both parties' presidential candidates.  All of a sudden things there are moving very fast. In the latest polls, Senator Barack Obama has been edging out Hillary Clinton and tarnishing her aura of inevitability. On the GOP side, Mike Huckabee, who only a few months ago might have been referred to as "Mike Who?" is closing in on front-runner Mitt Romney. With only five weeks to go before the voting begins in the Hawkeye State, we get an update on the 2008 presidential race.

Guests:
David Yepsen, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute (@DavidYepsen)
Walter Shapiro, Yahoo News and Columbia Journalism Review (@waltershapiroPD)
Andrew Sullivan, Senior Editor, The Atlantic
William Galston, Brookings Institution
James Antle, Daily Caller News Foundation (@jimantle)

Making News Mideast Leaders Meet at White House before Peace Conference

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is at the White House today on the eve of a high-stakes Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. At the invitation of the Bush Administration, sixteen Arab nations including the Palestinian Authority and Syria have agreed to sit down and talk with Israel.  Warren Strobel is senior correspondent for foreign affairs for the McClatchy Newspapers.

Guests:
Warren Strobel, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, McClatchy Newspapers

Reporter's Notebook Senator Trent Lott Resigns

The number-two Republican in the Senate announced his early resignation today. Minority Leader Trent Lott will leave before the end of the year. Is it all about becoming a lobbyist?  Is this about getting out while the getting is good, before a bad election year for the GOP, or is it about Lott's personal career aspirations? Martin Kady, congressional correspondent for Politico.com.

Guests:
Martin Kady, Politico (@mkady)

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