SNEAK PEEK: ABC Iowa Democratic Debate


It's hot, your friends are out of town – may as well stay in Saturday night and watch the re-run of High School Musical 2 because for the second time this month, you cannot afford to oversleep on Sunday morning!

George Stephanopoulos moderates the fifth Democratic presidential debate (and the first Democratic debate in the key state of Iowa) Sunday at 9:00 am ET as part of a special edition of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" at Drake University.

The 90 minute debate will feature the eight Democratic presidential candidates: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson.

In the latest ABC News/Washington Post Iowa Democratic poll, it's a tight race among the three frontrunners. Obama leads with 27 percent and Clinton and Edwards are right there with him, polling 26 percent each.

Like to multitask? You can follow all the ins and outs online Sunday morning at ABC News' Rick Klein will be live-blogging during the debate and the ABC News Political Unit will provide real-time fact checking and analysis. And check out a preview here:

Klein caught up with John Edwards on his campaign bus in Iowa Friday and the former senator and VP candidate didn't mince words when it came to the Democratic frontrunners. (Perhaps he was warming up for Sunday as he seeks to sharpen his differences with Obama and Clinton).

Edwards derided as "fantasy" Obama's hope that he can work with Washington lobbyists to bring about change and said that Obama's statement that lobbyists would "have a seat at the table" under his administration misunderstands the nature of their power over Washington business.

Klein reports that Edwards had sharper words for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, suggesting that she would bring her own group of "Washington insiders" if she were elected president.

Des Moines is chock full of Democrats this weekend, but that didn't stop still-undeclared Fred Thompson from making his first foray into the Hawkeye State.

ABC News' Christine Byun was there for Thompson's inaugural Iowa trip and reports that the former senator turned TV star drew a crowd – mostly reporters – as he walked around the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Most fairgoers didn't blink an eye as the candidate made his way from the Iowa Republican booth to the Des Moines Register Soapbox, Byun reports, and many were asking each other who the tall man was. Some more knowledgeable fairgoers responded, "He's the Law and Order guy!"

Keep your eye on the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City next week, where President Bush and John McCain, Clinton, Obama and Thompson are all scheduled to deliver remarks. McCain and Clinton are first up on Monday; Tuesday it's Obama and Thompson's turn and President Bush speaks on Wednesday.

The rest of the weekend. . .


Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Obama and Richardson speak at the "Workers for a Better Iowa" forum organized by the Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO from 6:00 pm ET to 10:00 pm ET at the Hawkeye Downs Expo Hall located at 4400 6th St. SW Cedar Rapids.

Biden, Dodd and Clinton go to Polly Bukta's corn boil with Clinton County democrats at 2:45 pm ET.

Biden meets with Iowa State Senator Joe Seng and Scott County Democrats in Davenport.

Edwards gladhands at a townhall in Dubuque at 11:45 am ET

Obama discusses security at Waverly Light and Power headquarters at 1:15 pm ET.

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