Hillary, Barack and John: Showdown Nevada

The Nevada caucus is just days away now and the outcome in New Hampshire means it will be more important than the candidates thought a few months ago. The democratic and republican races are wide open and Nevada will be the absolute center of the universe in american politics january 19th.

It is showdown for Clinton, Obama and Edwards. Richardson, is as I predicted, out of the race.

When it comes to the race for the White House, the Silver State isn’t the first one that comes to mind. Candidates trudging through the snow in Iowa and New Hampshire are the most obvious images.

But complaints over the years about a lack of diversity in Iowa and New Hampshire led the Democratic Party to take action, moving Nevada’s caucus up to mid-January in the primary calendar. They picked Nevada because of its growing Latino population and strong union workforce, among other reasons.

Among the issues of concern to Nevada voters: energy independence, nuclear waste storage, water resources, economic growth, homeland defense and illegal immigration. Expect some of those to come up in the debate.

President Bush won Nevada in 2000 and 2004. The Democrats came close and hope to close the deal next November. Moving up Nevada’s Democratic caucus and holding a party-sanctioned debate here could pay off at the Election Day 2008.

Facts: Polls from CBS and New York Times: Clinton 42%, Obama 27% and Edwards 11%.

Watch: CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party will host a presidential debate Thursday night at 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET).

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