THE NOTE: Countdown to Iowa

So since we don't know anything about anything, really -- enjoy New Year's Eve. ABC's Jennifer Parker finds out who among the national press corps will be at Lucca, 801 Grand, Centro, and Dos Rios. Des Moines is "the place to be and to be seen on New Year's Eve, for an estimated 2,000 journalists, including 100 foreign journalists from over 25 different countries," Parker writes.

Time's Jay Newton-Small has more scoop on New Year's in Iowa: Huckabee, Bill Richardson, and the Clintons have big bashes, but the rest of the candidates are spending quieter nights after full days of campaigning. "But the real party will be downtown, where hundreds of national media have snapped up reservations at Des Moines' best restaurants," she writes.

"For the hundreds of less moneyed reporters in town for the holiday, Carrie Giddins, the spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party, and Mary Tiffany, her GOP counterpart, have joined forces to throw 'Raucous Before the Caucus,' a big bash with a jazz band at the Temple for the Performing Arts downtown -- the $25 entrance fee gets journos a taste of Iowa, including State Fair favorites like fried Twinkies and corn dogs."

Also in the news:

The New York Times' Mark Leibovich looks at the competing styles of the Democrats: "There are similarities: they travel with big-deal entourages, vow to 'stand up for you' in Washington (while urging voters to 'stand for me' on Thursday night), and look very much in need of a good night's sleep, or 10," he writes.

"But their distinctions are more revealing, and ultimately reflect the competing notions of change the candidates are seeking to embody." (Somebody ask Leibovich what it reveals about him that he jogs at night through downtown Des Moines in late December -- in shorts.)

Sticking to his own keen observations: "Mrs. Clinton's events are meticulously planned and orderly, and even seem regal at times. She stands with her hands folded at her waist while waiting to speak; she typically stands next to her daughter, Chelsea, who in recent weeks been silently accompanying her, hands folded in perfect symmetry with her mother's. While being introduced by a supporter in Guthrie Center on Thursday night, Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea were slumped shoulder-to-shoulder, holding each other up."

The Boston Globe's Sasha Issenberg sees the rhetorical differences stemming from their legal careers: "John Edwards, a career trial attorney before running for the Senate, practices a courtroom-style summation that rouses listeners to use their vote to deliver justice.

Hillary Clinton, who practiced mostly corporate law at a Little Rock firm, approaches her speeches as a dealmaker: itemizing a list of goals and demands and then explaining what it will take to realize them. Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar, reiterates his rivals' arguments and tries to expose them as logically unsound."

Edwards, hitting a big round of TV interviews Monday morning, is very much in the Iowa mix. "Edwards is more at the center of attention than he has been since his wife fell ill with cancer this spring," Politico's Ben Smith writes. "Of course, it's Sunday, and the caucus is Thursday, 1,000 news cycles away, and perhaps -- dare I say it, four days out? -- he's peaking too early."

The former trial lawyer is firing up his crowds with his closing argument, Tony Leys writes in the Des Moines Register.

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