Candidates take to streets in Iowa


CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) – Fourth of July virtually everywhere is about fireworks, flags, firetrucks and floats. In Iowa Wednesday, people eyeing the White House also were in the mix.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton walked hand in hand with her husband Bill in a sunny, postcard-perfect holiday parade in this north-central lakeside town.

Iowa is among the earliest presidential delegate-selection states, and some 10,000 people were expected here. Many White House aspirants already have crossed these highways, visited the farms and broken bread in the coffee shops, in the earliest-ever jockeying for the parties’ presidential nominations.

Veterans led Wednesday’s parade, which included a float featuring a woman dressed as a gold Statue of Liberty. Sen. Clinton followed closely, causing a long wait between floats. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also marched – further back.

In Waterloo, Iowa, Sen. Clinton took President Bush to task, saying he has run the nation into debt, forcing it to borrow from other countries and from social programs to fund the war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama, who also was campaigning in Iowa, said he likes and respects former President Clinton but thinks the American people want fresh ideas in the current race for the White House.

“What we’re more interested in is in looking forward, not looking backward,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain forsook the campaign trail here, going instead to Iraq where he congratulated new citizens in Baghdad and spoke of the hardships endured fighting in an unpopular war. McCain, who has backed the war, has watched his presidential campaign suffer as public support for the conflict has waned.

At the parade here, Romney supporters were dressed mostly in white and carrying banners and signs. They shouted “Let’s Go Mitt” as they marched in front of a posh tour bus with the candidates’ name splashed across the sides.