It was just another special presidential campaign weekend in Iowa, as brought to us by the incredible Iowa Independent:

“The woman who chairs Republican Sen. Sam Brownback’s campaign in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District forwarded an email making the claim that Mormons are no kind of Christians. According to the email: “Theologically, the only thing Christianity andthe LDS (Later Day Saints) church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith.” The email was aimed, of course, at Mitt Romney, a Mormon who is leading in some Iowa polls.

The Yonder realizes this is a political debate, not a theological one. For her part, Emma Nemecek of Mt. Vernon, the Brownback campaign chair, said she didn’t mean any harm. She merely punched the forward button. The Brownback campaign has apologized to Romney and Romney has acccepted. (The Boston Globe has chronicled a number of these so-called mistakes.) Nemecek, according to Independent reporter John Deeth, says Brownback is too nice a guy to say anything bad about others. She’s met the candidate a couple of times and apparently ate with him, too, because she added, “If a guy treats a waiter decently, that’s a sign of his character.”

“It was SRO in Muscatine Sunday for an event with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. John Deeth live-blogged from the town in Eastern Iowa that is perched on the Mississippi River across from Illinois.

Romney talked about family values and the continuing threats from terrorists and the need for increased production of energy. According to Bleeth, however, Romney received the most praise for a tough stand against illegal migrants. This is a recurring theme in campaign coverage coming out of Iowa — the widespread concern over illegal immigration.

Bleeth captured this sentiment in an exchange he had with some people in crowd:

I catch up with John and Sue Hatfield and Debbie Hendricks, all of Muscatine, in the front row. Sue and Debbie say the blueberry pie is wonderful; John is abstaining from pie.

All say they’re uncommitted. Debbie says, “Well, I’m definitely voting Republican.” John says he likes how Romney turned around the 2002 Olympics post-scandal. What’s the most important issue? Almost in unison, all three say, “Immigration.” John has a few choice words for the Administration’s plan: “I don’t even like to say Buuuuush.” Debbie: “Oh, be careful, you might get in a fight here,” and all chuckle. I ask John what to do about those already here: “How many bus companies do we have?” Debbie adds, “take away the entitlements and part of the problem will take care of itself.”

“Meanwhile, Doug Burns, a Carroll, Iowa, columnist, caught up with John Edwards, who was speaking to 175 people in the Carrollton Centre banquet room. Edwards talked a lot about his health care plan, adding some rural twists. The Democrat said he would give doctors and nurses tuition grants if they would agree to work in rural communities for five years after earning their degrees.

Edwards also told the crowd that he is the Democrat with the best chance of winning a general election: “It’s a pretty simple thing. Who will be a stronger candidate in the general election here in the State of Iowa? Who can go to other parts of the country when we have swing candidates running for the Congress and the Senate? Is the candidate going to have to say, ‘Don’t come here. Don’t come here and campaign with me. I can’t win if you campaign with me.’”

Burns’ paper, the Carroll Daily Times Herald, wrote that Edwards’ was, in effect, saying that neither a woman (Hillary Clinton) nor an African-American (Barack Obama) could win a national election. The paper commented:

If a Republican had made the same suggestion as Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards did in Carroll Sunday — that he’s more electable in the country than his top two opponents (who happen to be a woman and a black male) — the national media would have Trent-Lotted Edwards out of the race. While he’s taken some criticism, there is a double standard for Republicans and Democrats when it comes to these sensitive areas.

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