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msnbc.com
updated 12/27/2007 4:37:31 PM ET 2007-12-27T21:37:31

If Hillary Clinton ends up surviving Iowa, I will know the reason: her husband. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the other night, I saw a tired but still feisty Bill Clinton give the most (actually the first) convincing recitation I’d ever heard of his wife’s career accomplishments -– you know, the achievements that supposedly make her the “steady hand” the country now needs.

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By the time Bill was done, Hillary sounded like a cross between Margaret Mead, Mother Teresa and Lyndon Johnson. The 900 or so Democrats at the Hawkeye Downs race track seemed to go home happy.

On a pit stop here between stretches in Iowa, I can tell you this: things look different on a snowy I-80 than they do on the East Coast and inside the Beltway.

The pundits, including me, scoffed at the former president’s role in the campaign, on the theory that he brings too many bad associations with him to the trail. But the fact is, the man could sell ice cones to the Inuit, and Democrats in Iowa still adore the guy.

Lots of other things look different when you’re driving around the state chasing candidates and campaigns, as I have done in recent days, and as I will be doing again soon. Here are a few:

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