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.

Richardson does double picnic duty with auto workers at 1:00 pm ET in Marshall and with locals in Cumming at 4:00 pm ET.

As for the Republicans

Rudy Giuliani has no public events this weekend.

Mitt Romney has fundraisers in Massachusetts in Cape Cod, at 4:00 pm ET and Martha's Vineyard at 6:30 pm ET.

Mike Huckabee has a closed press breakfast with Manchester clergy before campaign stops in Kingston and Center Strafford and a fundraiser in North Conway.


Start your morning off with coffee, a bagel and the ABC Iowa Democratic presidential debate!

Obama heads to New Hampshire in the afternoon for events in Portsmouth and Dover.

Clinton stays in Des Moines for a debate watch party with supporters.

On the Republican side. . .

Still in the Granite State, Huckabee has a closed press fellowship at a church in Auburn at 8:15 am ET followed by campaign events in Concord and Hollis and a fundraiser in Manchester at 4:00 pm ET.

Romney raises coin in Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.

McCain is a guest on CBS's "Face the Nation"

Fred Thompson celebrates his 65th birthday.


Obama stays in New Hampshire for events in Exeter, Salem, Derry, Bedford and Concord.

Huckabee has a country club breakfast at the Manchester Republican Committee's Annual Golf Tournament at the Derryfield Country Club at 7:15 am ET before taping "NewsNight with Jim Braude" for New England Cable News at 10:00 am ET, and speaking at a Rotary luncheon in Nashua at noon ET.

McCain addresses veterans in Kansas City.


ABC News' senior political reporter and author of "The Note" Rick Klein hits the road, sitting down with former Senator John Edwards aboard his campaign bus cruising en route to the Democratic debate this Sunday. Edwards blasts Obama's lobbyist plan as "fantasy", pushes back on Clinton, and defends poverty campaign despite the latest Fortress produced mess courtesy of the Wall Street Journal: LINK

ABC's Jake Tapper "He said, He said: Thompson on Abortion" LINK

ABC News' Aaron Katersky "Giuliani-McCain: That's The Ticket?" LINK

ABC News' Rick Klein "'Sicko' Twister" LINK


Notes From the Note Rick Klein previews the Democratic debate and looks back at Rove's resignation.LINK

Obama Visits the Fair The Obama family enjoys rides and food at the Iowa State Fair. LINK

Bottom Line on Barack Obama George Stephanopoulos discusses the extra pressure mounting on the senator. LINK

Too Little Experience for White House? Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has spent the last few days defending himself.LINK

Wedding Bells Ringing at White House President Bush's daughter Jenna Bush is engaged to Henry Hager. LINK

Campaigns Rally Against Imposter Shirts ABC News investigates presidential campaigns and their T-shirt busting methods. LINK

Landing a U-2 Spy Plane Jonathan Karl has a front row seat on the runway at Beale Air Force Base. LINK

Utah Mayor on Utah Mine The mayor of Price, Utah, discusses the now-deadly mine workers ordeal. LINK