Young Iowa voters 'rock the caucus'

January 3, 2012 4:00:52 PM PST
Only one candidate can win tonight, but at least three could claim victory.

If Mitt Romney comes in first, he will claim the season's first prize.

But you can be sure if Ron Paul and Rick Santorum finish in the top three, as they're now expected to, they will sound very much like winners, and before the evening is out, we will hear them say the words, 'now on to New Hampshire.'

Meanwhile, we spent part of this day with 800 winners, the senior class at Valley High School in West Des Moines.

They filed into the gymnasium for an event called 'Rock the Caucus.'

The kids have never seen a collection of TV cameras like this in their school before, so the atmosphere was big time for them, not to mention the fact that they'd be hearing from several of the Republican candidates or their proxies.

Candidates for student government president presented their own platforms and then introduced their adult counterparts, like Michele Bachmann.

"History is going to start here today," Bachmann said.

That's right, all the 18-year-old seniors can vote tonight, and many are really looking forward to it.

"The youth is getting involved and this is the first year we can vote and it happens to be an election year, so it's just really exciting," senior Katrina Bott said.

"I'm registered as a Democrat, so most likely [I will vote for] Obama or I might switch for Ron Paul," senior Emily Mueleener said.

"I really want to vote for Rick Perry. I like his views, his Christian views, people should be able to pray in school," senior Jonathan Moravak said.

"I would really like to see gay marriage legalized this year or within the next election so that's one thing I'm really passionate about and I just don't agree with a lot of the candidates and their stance on that," senior Sarah Ortiz said.

The question is how many will vote for Bachmann, who's mired at the bottom of the caucus pack.

I asked her the question on many peoples' minds, "Ms. Bachmann, are you staying in the race after Iowa? Is that a guarantee?"

Bachmann replied, "Of course I am. We bought our tickets to South Carolina. We'll be off tomorrow morning to South Carolina then I'll be in the debates on Saturday and Sunday in New Hampshire."

Back inside the gym, Mitt Romney's son Tag spoke on behalf of his dad, and Rick Santorum arrived with his newfound standing as a favorite and the crush of media that goes along with that.

Last up, the oldest candidate who has appealed to younger voters in this race, Ron Paul.

He assailed U.S. foreign policy for going into countries like Iraq without the consent of the congress and the invitation of the United Nations.

Paul has advocated bringing all U.S. troops home, even from places like Germany and South Korea.

For the kids, it was a chance to see real life presidential candidates, and for the candidates, a chance to see real life TV cameras.

It worked for everybody.