Four Weeks to Iowa

Four weeks from today, the voters in the Hawkeye State will caucus and cast the first meaningful votes in the 2012 Presidential Election; but if you look at the schedule of the GOP candidates, it's hard to figure out that's the case.

Instead of campaign itinerary that feature nothing but a steady diet of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests of next year, frontrunner Newt Gingrich has neither on his schedule until a Saturday debate in Iowa.

Mitt Romney has the same kind of calendar. In fact, the only major Republican candidate in Iowa today is Rick Santorum - and he's given little chance by political know-it-alls to win the state or the nomination.

Instead of a campaign trail crackling with voter forums and stops at local diners, Gingrich was in New York meeting with Donald Trump and exchanging long distance shots with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was threatening to release damaging ethics information about Gingrich.

While he's on the sidelines now in the race, Herman Cain remains on the road. Last night it was Oklahoma City. Later this week it is Texas and the Washington, D.C. area - so he wasn't going to be in Iowa or New Hampshire either.

It seems hard to believe Iowa and New Hampshire were getting the cold shoulder at this point in 2007 from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - but maybe they were.

Four years ago on this date, Clinton was in New York - like Gingrich was on Monday - unveiling plans for a subprime mortgage bailout plan.

Four years ago, Barack Obama was getting ready to pack the University of South Carolina football stadium for an endorsement by Oprah Winfrey.

Four years ago, Quinnipiac University released polls which should make us think twice about what we think we know about the 2012 race for the White House right now.

"These Democratic primary numbers are a good indication that despite the tight three-way race in Iowa, the fight for the nomination is not very close and that Sen. Clinton's lead remains very large and deep," said Quinnipiace's Peter A. Brown.

Hmmmm. Didn't work out that way.

On the GOP side, Quinnipiac found that "Rudolph Giuliani leads the Republican pack in each state."

Hmmmm. Didn't turn out that way either.

Four weeks might not sound like much time, but there is a lot of water that can still go under the bridge for the 2012 Elections.