US Presidential Candidates Make Last-Minute Bids To Voters

Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls crisscrossed Iowa on Friday, making last-minute appeals to voters and tightening their attacks on rivals ahead of the state's crucial, first-in-the-nation nominating contest.

With just three days to go before the Iowa caucuses, both the Democratic and Republican races appear to be tightening. Almost every major candidate in both parties held campaign rallies and gave speeches across this rural Midwestern state.

The notable exception was GOP front-runner Donald Trump. The billionaire businessman instead looked past Iowa, opting to campaign in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's next nominating event February 9.

Though Trump succeeded in dominating yet another news cycle by sitting out the debate, the move also risks alienating Iowa voters, analysts said.

"We won't know whether or not this was truly a good move until we find out how Iowans cast their votes," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told VOA.

"If they don't feel shunned, then this was a brilliant move by Trump, because he wound up being the debate winner precisely because Ted Cruz was in the hot seat."

Read more from William Gallo at Voice of America

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Analysis & Political Strategy