DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The campaign of Democrat Barack Obama moved quickly Thursday to dampen any expectations raised by Michelle Obama who said this week that her husband has to win Iowa.
Most polls in Iowa show the Illinois senator in a tight race with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards. During a visit Wednesday to Davenport, Iowa, Michelle Obama commented on the importance of a strong showing in the caucuses.
"Iowa will make the difference," she said. "If Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream. If we win Iowa then we can move to the world as it should be. And we need your help in making that happen."
Typically, meeting expectations in Iowa is nearly as important as who actually wins, so candidates are careful about their public comments on the importance they place on a victory.
On Thursday, Obama's campaign made it clear that they were optimistic about their chances in Iowa but didn't consider it essential that they win.
"Every campaign has said it's important to do well in Iowa, and that's our goal," said Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama's Iowa campaign.
Vietor said the campaign will continue, regardless of his showing in Iowa.
Spokesmen for Clinton and Edwards also declined to predict how their candidates would do.
"We are not setting any expectations for ourselves," said Mark Daley, a spokesman for the New York senator's Iowa campaign. "Obviously we hope to be successful in Iowa." He declined to describe what "successful" would mean.
Historically, three candidates from each party remain viable after Iowa, with those who finish fourth or worse losing steam and quitting the race relatively soon. That process could be even faster this cycle because of a compressed campaign schedule that's jammed a series of primaries and caucuses earlier in the calendar.