January 22, 2000 – Iowa was a hotbed of politicking this week, as Presidential hopefuls from both parties criss-crossed the state, stumping, talking, promising and cajoling voters who would hold caucuses in hundreds of living rooms, Fire Stations and School rooms to pick delegates. This early on, the Caucus was still a horserace, but the Democratic frontrunners were Al Gore and Bill Bradley with, as polls were showing, vice-President Al Gore holding the commanding lead, but there were no sure bets – everyone was pointing to the Iowa Caucus of 1972, when Ed Muskie was thought to have the slam-dunk lead, but when it came right down to it, George McGovern won Iowa. On the Republican side – Arizona Senator John McCain decided to bypass the Iowa Caucus, concentrating on the next stop; New Hampshire. So most felt the win would be Bush’s, but another challenger Steve Forbes was looking to be a real threat. Forbes had spent a considerable amount of time in the State, so Iowans were more than familiar with him. How this was all going to pan out would be known soon enough within a few short days. This was the first of what was going to be a grueling and historic election.
Meanwhile, South Carolina was the scene of another Stars n’ Bars controversy. This time it was the Confederate flag flying over the State Capitol and the hot-button issue, coming ahead of the South Carolina Primary was its removal. The flag, flying since 1962 as a symbol of States Rights during the height of the Civil Rights era, was ordered taken permanently down by the Governor, a Democrat who, in his State Of The State Address earlier in the month said it was time to take the flag down and resolve this long-festering situation once and for all, ahead of Martin Luther King Day, coming up in a few days. Calls to bring the flag down were growing, and at last report, some 50,000 demonstrator had gathered at the state Capitol to urge its removal.
And the controversy of a National Missile Defense wasn’t going to go away anytime soon – especially since the Pentagon expressed embarrassment over a test earlier in the week of an Anti-missile interceptor which failed to hit its target high over the Pacific. All those in favor of the infamous “Star Wars” missile defense system were cautioned to cool their jets for a bit and not go so fast as mistakes and failure was undoubtedly going to happen. Despite the enthusiasm and the Reagan sales pitch in the 80s.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on this week – the one ending January 22, 2000 as reported by The CBS Radio Weekend Roundup.