Candidates Start Early in Iowa for 2008 Presidential Race

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Politicians seem to be lined up out the door and down the block these days for the chance to win friends and influence people in Iowa. The goal? To impact the course of the nation for at least four years beginning in 2008.

In October alone, Iowa was visited by 10 potential presidential candidates for the 2008 campaign. The swell of visitors came less than a year after the last race ended.

Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Steve Brown.

"I wish the process didn't begin this early, but it does," said Sen. Evan Bayh (search), D-Ind.

With more than 26 months until Iowa kicks off the presidential gauntlet again, the early start is about capitalizing on a rare opportunity.

President Bush is term-limited and Vice President Cheney is not running for his seat. The race of 2008 will be the first White House race in 56 years without an incumbent president or a sitting vice president in the contest. It's wide open, at least for Republicans. For Democrats, it may be less so.

"In a field that's large and maybe dominated by a single candidate, Sen. Clinton, you've got to be able to get out there and break through here or in New Hampshire," said former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Fisher.

Of course, it's not unexpected to see Iowa's governor in Iowa, but Gov. Tom Vilsack (search) is also rumored to be a presidential candidate. So is Sen. John Kerry (search), D-Mass., the 2004 Democratic candidate.

"It brings back great memories of being out here and being out here and being out here," joked Kerry in an Oct. 9 appearance at a meeting of the Johnson County Democrats.

Vilsack has also played host to Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee (search), who has been spending time in the state.

The two are friends, which would explain Vilsack's recent introduction of Huckabee lasting well more than six minutes at a mid-October event.

"That's a better introduction than any Republican has ever given me in Arkansas," Huckabee said.

Right now, potential presidential candidates visiting Iowa are there mainly in an effort to help Iowa candidates.

Recently, Republican Govs. George Pataki (search) of New York and Mitt Romney (search) of Massachusetts were featured speakers at local political fundraisers.

"They're actually helping candidates and helping me raise money, which is nice, makes my job a lot easier, " said Iowa Republican Party Chairman Ray Hoffman.

And if by chance any Iowans missed the battery of visits by possible presidential hopefuls, fear not.

Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) may have spoken for all White House aspirations when he told voters last month that he hopes to come back "in the future."