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SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 02, 2012

Ready, set, caucus: Iowa Republicans make first voter decisions of 2012 presidential campaign

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Find a poll or prediction of who was favored before Iowa's caucuses and compare it with results reported Wednesday.
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Select a photo or editorial page cartoon about the Iowa political event and share your reaction.
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Now look for news about the next big political story – a presidential primary in New Hampshire next Tuesday, Jan. 10.

We've heard for many months from Republicans who want to unseat President Obama. Now it's time to hear from voters, who this week begin making decisions that will determine which candidate is nominated this summer as the president's November opponent.
The first decisions to shrink a seven-person pack are coming from Iowa, where voters Tuesday are picking county convention delegates pledged to certain candidates. The process, which starts at meetings called caucuses (pronounced KAW-cuss-es), leads to the election of presidential nominating delegates for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., this August.

Although Iowa is a small, mainly rural state, its lead role every four years provides an early boost to some candidates and can make it tougher for laggards to raise money, earn media attention and keep staff members. More than a few political specialists, however, warn against reading too much into Iowa's results. "As Iowa goes, so goes . . . Iowa, and little more," politics scholar William Galston wrote last week in The New Republic magazine. And a University of Virginia political scientist, Larry Sabato, notes: "Iowa has only picked the eventual Republican nominee in two of the last five contested nominating contests."

This past weekend, the respected Des Moines Register newspaper poll showed Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, with support from 24 percent of Iowa voters questioned. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was close behind at 22 percent, followed by 15 percent for Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Other candidates are Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, ex-Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia and ex-Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah .

Columnist says: "On Tuesday, there will be a contest to select the preferred candidate of a small group of people who are older, wealthier and whiter than American voters in general, and more politically extreme than the average Iowa Republican." -- Gail Collins, New York Times

Iowa voter says: "It doesn't seem like one [candidate] stands out from the crowd." -- Elizabeth Zimmerman, 84, of Des Moines

Candidate says: "It is a long way from here to picking the nominee." -- Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House Speaker

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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