Incumbency has its privileges:

The winner of the Iowa caucuses on Monday night will have an unexpected competitor waiting right around the corner, and he is not one of the Democrats running for president.

The opponent is President Bush and his State of the Union address, which White House officials scheduled for Tuesday night, only 24 hours after Iowa, to draw attention from the Democratic victor, a Republican close to the Bush campaign said.

“Was it planned?” the Republican said. “Yes. The fact that the Iowa caucus was going to be held on a certain date was not unknown to people in the White House.”

The underlying strategy, the Republican said, was not to steal all the thunder from the Democrats, which even another “axis of evil” State of the Union address was unlikely to do, but rather to change the subject.