Rumor has it…

Iowa GOP officials don’t think Appanoose County will rewrite caucus history

JENNIFER JACOBS, 10:40 PM, Jan 5, 2012, Des Moines Register

An Appanoose County man told an Iowa TV station today that he thinks there was a 20-vote discrepancy in the count in the town of Moulton – which could tilt the tight Iowa caucuses victory in Rick Santorum’s favor.

But Republican Party of Iowa officials said tonight that they have talked with Appanoose County GOP officials and don’t have any reason to believe the final results in the county will change the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.

Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses by the thinnest of margins: 8 votes, out of about 120,000 votes cast.

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, told KCCI that the GOP’s results showed 22 votes for Romney when he thinks it was only 2. True said he and 52 other people caucused at the Garrett Memorial Library.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn in a statement tonight said:

“Iowa GOP rules provide for a two-week certification process for each of the 1,774 precincts. The Iowa GOP will announce the final, certified results of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses following this process.

“Out of respect to the candidates involved, party officials will not respond to every rumor, innuendo or allegation during the two week process.

That said, Iowa GOP officials have been in contact with Appanoose County Republican officials tonight and do not have any reason to believe the final, certified results of Appanoose County will change the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.”

The Iowa Aftermath

Following this:

There will be some announcements from Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.

Romney wins Iowa by 8 votes…

Preston: Short sprint or long haul to GOP nomination?

By Mark Preston, CNN Political Director
updated 5:27 AM EST, Wed January 4, 2012

Click to play

(CNN) — With a narrow loss, Rick Santorum scored a stunning victory and now heads to New Hampshire, hoping this momentum sets him up as the anti-Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Santorum, who lost to Romney by eight votes in the Iowa caucuses early Wednesday, is following a well-worn path on his march as the new political battleground shifts from this Midwestern state to New Hampshire.

It is an uphill battle for Santorum, who faces a better-funded rival in Romney and questions about his own viability as a general election candidate.

Meanwhile, one-time leading contender Newt Gingrich is hoping to breathe new life into his campaign with a sharper message in a new state. Rick Perry, who came in a disappointing fifth in the caucuses, said he was heading back to Texas to “reassess” his campaign, a statement that all but seems to close the book on his presidential bid that took off like a rocket in August only to fall out of the sky in the ensuing months.

Perhaps, the second biggest surprise of the night — nothing can match the razor-thin margin that Romney won by — was Michele Bachmann’s refusal to bow out of the race even though she came in a disappointing sixth place.

She is scheduled to appear in South Carolina on Wednesday — hoping to open up a second front in the battle for the Republican nomination. For Bachmann, New Hampshire is not an option to restart her campaign, as her fate rests with the influential evangelical/born-again voters in South Carolina — the same group that failed to rally behind her in Iowa.

Even though Ron Paul came in third, he should get credit for building a strong ground game. Paul has proven he is an effective campaigner with a loyal following. He is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Romney is heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary and it should come as no surprise that he will take time this week to campaign in South Carolina — a political strike to try and suppress any momentum that might be building for Santorum or support for Gingrich.

Santorum will press hard for South Carolina’s evangelical/born again voters on January 11, but he is not willing to cede this valuable opportunity to draw a spotlight onto his campaign. A wealthy candidate, such as Romney, has the ability to pick and choose what states to play in. Santorum is no Romney when it comes to money, staff and resources.

“We are not just going to compete where we think we can win,” said John Brabender, Santorum’s senior strategist. “We think we are the best alternative to Mitt Romney and we are willing to go right into his backyard.”

The race for the 2012 GOP nomination, which has largely been an exercise in retail politics over the past few weeks, takes on the added dimension of a national campaign — which largely defined the race for most of the year. This weekend, the candidates will appear in two nationally televised debates — a setting that befits Newt Gingrich, who came in 4th place last night. Gingrich’s steady performance in the dozen-plus presidential debates helped fuel his rise in the polls in December only to come quickly crashing down under the barrage of negative advertising.

“This weekend’s debates are a big deal,” said David Winston, a veteran Republican strategist who is advising Gingrich. “This will be the first time the candidates will have been together since early December.”

Winston said he had never seen such a massive amount of negative television advertising directed at a presidential candidate as what Gingrich has endured over the past month.

“If you are trying to change the general narrative, this is where the folks are going to be,” Winston said of New Hampshire.

After New Hampshire, the next stop in the battle for the GOP nomination is January 21 in South Carolina, followed by Florida on January 31.

While Romney is likely to win New Hampshire, a big, strong showing by Santorum or Gingrich will determine whether this race comes to a quick close on Super Tuesday or continues on into the spring.

And then there is Jon Huntsman, is there any chance he will be able to soak up some of the spotlight that will now shine brightly on New Hampshire.


Check out the Iowa Caucus results as they come in:

“Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict.” – Rick Santorum


Rick Santorum May Win Iowa — And Nowhere Else

Zeke Miller


(Getty Images / Win McNamee)

Posted about 3 hours ago

OTTUMWA, Iowa—Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and his aides were frantically refreshing laptops and phones to see the results of Saturday’s Des Moines Register poll yesterday evening, results that showed him within striking distance of Mitt Romney, but it probably didn’t matter: The last surging Republican candidate is uniquely ill-suited to snatch the nomination from Mitt Romney.

Santorum huddled with staff members outside a restroom here trying to access the poll following one of his largest rallies of the campaign. Like tens of thousands of other political junkies Saturday night, he was locked out of the results after the Register’s website crashed under the load, and only learned of the results after BuzzFeed’s correspondent showed him a tweet on his laptop.

The Pennsylvania conservative expressed little emotion after learning he was polling in third at 15 percent — up from just 5 percent in early December — or when he got the news that in the last two days of the survey he had surging to 21 percent, enough for second place.

Santorum maintained that the poll didn’t matter; he’s “the tortoise” and isn’t going to do anything differently. And in the grand scheme of things, he’s right:

Little changes if Santorum wins the Iowa caucuses. It will still be Mitt Romney’s game to lose.

Santorum lacks the organization and fundraising to compete in the next two voting states, South Carolina and New Hampshire. He was soliciting Iowa voters late Saturday to help him raise money for ads airing as soon as tomorrow.
What’s more, the single-minded focus on social conservatives, and the “moral crisis” on which he campaigns, has left him without a clear pitch to most voters’ primary concern, the economy.

Indeed, Santorum appeals to Iowa voters with a mix of unusual lines that won’t play outside the Hawkeye State.

“Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict,” Santorum told the audience in Ottumwa. When he was asked about homeopathic remedies, he said: “I believe in all types of medicine.”

“Santorum may pocket the anti-Romney conservative ticket out of Iowa, boosting him in South Carolina, yet it is difficult to see how he broadens his appeal within his party. Santorum still campaigns as if he is behind a church pulpit, not on a political podium,” the Republican consultant Alex Castellanos wrote Sunday. “Unless he learns to address the raging economic fire that concerns voters and not the moral meltdown that interests him, he’ll remain a tangential threat.”

The problem for Santorum: Romney has New Hampshire locked up, setting South Carolina as the site of conservatives’ last stand.

But as in Iowa, Romney will face a divided mass of conservatives in the Palmetto State: Barring a low-single digit catastrophe on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry will almost certainly still be in the race when South Carolina Republicans cast their primary ballots.
Santorum’s surge has been isolated to Iowa — he’s still in single digits nationally — and only came about because of his relentless retail politicking, and an ostentatious fealty to the “Iowa way” that won’t stir voters elsewhere. Gingrich and Perry can’t win a three or four way split of the conservative vote.

Santorum won’t have the same level of success in South Carolina as he might in Iowa since he’s made only a symbolic effort to meet voters in the state, staging about three hundred fewer events there than he has in Iowa.

He needs to be able to wage a media war, and in a state where retail politics is less important, that means Santorum needs cash — and he doesn’t have any.

Santorum very well could win the Iowa caucuses, but it doesn’t make Mitt Romney more vulnerable. Rather, it means Romney’s getting perhaps the only social conservative he could beat even in the Baptist heartland.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Santorum said in Ottumwa. But there’s clear path for Santorum to stop Romney’s sprint to the finish.

The tortoise may win Iowa, but he won’t go very far.

Obama to Put Forth Plan for US Economy

15 August 2011 Last updated at 23:48 ET, BBC News

Obama promises ‘very specific’ plan for US economy

US President Barack Obama has promised a “very specific” plan next month to improve the flagging US economy.

In Iowa on day one of a rural Midwest bus tour, he said he would put forward the blueprint when Congress returned in September.

As President Obama spoke, his would-be 2012 Republican challengers blamed him for the flagging American economy.

With US unemployment jammed at just above 9%, jobs could well remain a major issue for voters in 2012.

Responding to a question in a town hall in Decorah, Iowa, on Monday evening, Mr Obama said: “I’ll be putting forward when they [lawmakers] come back in September a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control our deficit.

“And my attitude is – get it done.”

‘Lowering the rhetoric’

Mr Obama set off on Monday morning on a three-day swing through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

The tour – in an imposing Secret Service armoured bus – is officially a White House event, although Republicans called it a campaign trip.

The BBC’s Marcus George in Washington says Mr Obama is trying to reassert his leadership and, indirectly, shore up support in states that could make or break his campaign for a second term.

During Mr Obama’s stop in Decorah, he clashed with a local leader of the conservative Tea Party, Ryan Rhodes.

Mr Rhodes referred to reports that Vice-President Joe Biden had likened Tea Party members during recent debt-ceiling negotiations to terrorists.

Mr Obama replied: “In fairness, since I have been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I am all for lowering the rhetoric.”

Mr Obama’s approval rating dipped below 40% for the first time in a Gallup daily tracking poll on Sunday, although recent polls have shown far lower voter satisfaction with Congress.

‘Magical Misery bus tour’

Analysts say Mr Obama’s challenge is to convince voters that his policies – including a $787bn (£482bn) economic stimulus package and health care reforms – have helped the economy, not hindered it.

Presumptive Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney labelled Mr Obama’s trip the “Magical Misery bus tour”.

The former Massachusetts governor said in a statement the president was “more interested in campaigning in swing states than working to solve the economic crisis crushing the middle class”.

Texas Governor Rick Perry meanwhile completed his first full day of campaigning, telling the Associated Press news agency: “I respect all the other candidates in the field but there is no one that can stand toe-to-toe with us.”

In an interview with an Iowa newspaper, Mr Perry also challenged Mr Obama, to “get rid of the regulations stifling jobs in America”.

Mr Perry received an unexpected compliment in New York on Monday from Democratic former President Bill Clinton.

Mr Clinton said the Texan was a “good-looking rascal,” but indicated he was not so impressed by Mr Perry’s policies.

Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann will begin a bus tour on Tuesday in South Carolina, buoyed by her win in Saturday’s non-binding “straw poll” in Iowa.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after finishing a distant third in that poll. Mr Romney did not compete.

Mr Romney, Ms Bachmann and Mr Perry are each vying to become the Republican nominee and challenge Mr Obama for the White House in 2012’s elections.

With the first real voting not scheduled to take place until February, correspondents say plenty of time remains for more upheaval in the Republican race.

This could include a late entrance from Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, 2008 vice-presidential nominee and conservative Tea Party hero.

Fact-checking GOP on Foreign Policy

GOP candidates flub facts on foreign policy

Posted By Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy  Friday, August 12, 2011 – 12:24 PM

Foreign policy turned out to be a prominent part of Thursday night’s GOP primary debate. The questions covered a range of countries — and the accuracy of the candidates’ responses was similarly all over the map.

Almost all the candidates committed unforced errors when talking about foreign policy and national security. Tim Pawlenty made the first mistake, when he referred to Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a “general.” Mullen is an admiral in the U.S. Navy. Pawlenty also said that Gen. David Petraeus told him that it would take “two years from last summer to have an orderly and successful wind down of our mission in Afghanistan, at least in terms of our troop withdrawal, and President Obama has accelerated that.”

“Two years from last summer” would mean that Petraeus was calling for significant troop withdrawals by the summer of 2012. That’s exactly the timeline that Obama has set for the withdrawal of the 30,000 surge troops. Pawlenty is correct that Obama wants to withdraw U.S. forces faster than what Petraeus recommended, but his explanation of Petraeus’s timeline was off.

Mitt Romney tried to clear up the confusion over his comments on Afghanistan in the last debate, when he said, “It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can — as soon as our generals think it’s okay…. One lesson we‘ve learned in Afghanistan is that Americans cannot fight another nation’s war of independence.” Some Republicans interpreted that statement as Romney calling for a quick exit.

Last night, Romney said he always supported a slower exit than what Obama has announced, but he incorrectly stated that U.S. military leaders “recommended to President Obama that we should not start drawing our troops down until after the fighting season in 2012.”  But nowhere incongressional testimony have Mullen and Petraeus ever said the drawdown should begin after the 2012 summer fighting season, nor have they said that in any other public forum.

Adding to the inaccuracy, Jon Huntsman called for more engagement with the Chinese government. “We need a strategic dialogue at the highest levels between the United States and China,” he said. “That’s not happening.”

As Obama’s former ambassador to China, Huntsman surely must know that there have already been two rounds of the “U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue,” which was initiated in 2009, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and included over 200 U.S. officials and a similar number of Chinese government representatives.

In fact, Huntsman even participated in the dialogue in Beijing in May 2010 and wrote a blog post about it, where he said that Clinton and Geithner “both told me they viewed the dialogue as a broad success. I couldn’t agree more.”

That’s not to mention that Obama and President Hu Jintao have met personally 9 times, Clinton meets with her counterpart Yang Jiechi on a regular basis, and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Beijing next week to see Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.

Newt Gingrich was called on in the debate to clear up what many saw as his changing position on Libya: he called for a no-fly zone on March 7, just before the Libya war began, and then saidafter the operation began, “I would not have intervened.”

Gingrich accused the debate moderator, Fox News’s Bret Baier, of using a “gotcha” question for asking him to clarify his position and then said that he called for the no fly-zone on March 7 because Obama “that day had announced gloriously to the world as the president of the United States that Qaddafi had to go.” But, in fact, Obama first called for Qaddafi’s departure on March 3, four days earlier.

Gingrich then said Obama reversed his position on Libya, claiming that the president shifted away from his call for Qaddafi to leave power in favor of a humanitarian intervention. In reality, Obama has always maintained that Qaddafi must go, although he is clear that the mandate of the military intervention in Libya does not include the mission to oust Qaddafi,

On Syria, Pawlenty mischaracterized Obama and Clinton’s statements on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “Until recently, [Obama] and Hillary Clinton suggested that Bashar Assad was a reformer. He’s not a reformer, he’s a killer.” In fact, Obama has never referred to Assad as a reformer. Clinton said in March that she had heard from “lawmakers” who had visited Damascus that the Syrian president was a reformer.

A good portion of the foreign policy section of last night’s debate featured a battle over Iran policy between Ron PaulRick Santorum, and others. But that debate was riddled with factual errors and mischaracterizations.

Paul, who has taken the mantle of the Tea Party isolationist wing of the GOP, said that the CIA had confirmed they have no evidence that Iran was working on a nuclear weapon. Although a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran had halted its drive to produce a nuclear weapons, in March 2010, a CIA report to Congress concluded that “Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so.” In June of that year, CIA chief Leon Panetta said that the Iranians “are developing their nuclear capability and that raises concerns,” and “[w]e think they have enough low-enriched uranium right now for two weapons.”

Santorum contended that Iran “has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and the Afghanistanis [sic] have.” Yes, Iran has supplied al Qaeda in Iraq with weapons and supported militant groups such as the Mahdi Army, resulting in the deaths of many U.S. troops, but the link to Afghanistan is extremely tenuous. Put simply, there are no statistics that support Santorum’s claim.

Whether foreign policy becomes a key part of the GOP primary debate remains to be seen. But so far, the accuracy and command of details on foreign policy issues leaves a lot to be desired.

“Corporations Are People, My Friend” – Mitt Romney [Video]

No, they are not.  They are corporations.

Karger Not Invited to GOP Debates

AUGUST 10, 2011,

Fox News’ GOP Debate Won’t Let Out Gay Candidate Fred Karger In

The 2011 Ames Straw Poll — the most important pre-Iowa Caucus straw poll in the state, and one of the first real indicators of how the GOP nomination might turn out — will take place on August 13. On August 11, the GOP candidates will debate major issues publicly on national television. Not all of the candidates will be there, though — for instance, Fred Karger, the openly gay candidate, who wasn’t included in either the straw poll or the FOX Network debate.

The debate has specific requirements that each candidate must meet in order to participate — after all, virtually anyone can run for President, and a debate would be unproductive and meaningless with dozens of participants, most of whom have no chance of being elected. To make the cut, Fox News provides a set of criteria based on poll numbers, and if a candidate doesn’t have high enough numbers, he or she is out. But Fred Karger is arguing that that’s not the case here. Here’s his letter to Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn:

I am a declared Republican candidate for President of the United States who meets all of the requirements to participate in the Fox News Debate on August 11, 2011 in Ames Iowa.

Your criteria states:

Candidates must satisfy the following by 4 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1. Registered with the Federal Elections Commission as a presidential exploratory committee or presidential campaign.

2. Meet all U.S. Constitutional requirements.

3. Garnered at least an average of one percent in five national polls based on most recent polling leading up to the registration day.

Attached is a new national poll that came out yesterday.  It was conducted by Harris Interactive, sample size 1,168 that was in the field between August 2 – 4, 2011.  The Harris Poll tested all 12 major declared Republican candidates for President.  I am at 2%, tied with former Governors Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  With this latest national poll, I now meet your objective criteria of averaging at least 1% in five national polls.

I look forward to participating in the August 11, 2011 debate in Ames, Iowa and await all details.

Thank you for hosting the Republican debates.

Fox’s reply claims that since the polls Karger references here are online, the results don’t count, and he still isn’t qualified to participate in the Ames debate. However, if one reads the fine print (or lack thereof), you’ll find that Fox doesn’t actually specify anywhere what kind of polls candidates can use to qualify.

“Karger, in an interview, said Fox News did not specify in its criteria what polls it would accept. He said he did not file complaints about his exclusion from the New Hampshire or South Carolina debates because the criteria either required a higher percentage or listed specific polls… We could spend a lot of space on whether online polls are credible. But since Fox’s written criteria don’t define a poll, Karger and McCotter have room to complain.”

Karger has said that he will file a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission if he’s not offered a place in the debate tomorrow. Karger’s platform breaks with the Republican party line on several issues, like a path to citizenship, making American foreign policy more conciliatory, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is that why he’s seemingly being stonewalled? Is this truly about an unfortunate and unintended miscommunication about a set of criteria? Or is this about Fred Karger’s being the only gay candidate? Thaddeus McCotter, referred to above, was also excluded from the debate — in his case, he was able to participate according to the criteria of a central planning committee co-sponsoring the debates, but Fox didn’t accept those criteria. Events like these are always complicated, and it can be difficult to place blame. But as Karger points out, “(Clemente) said I had to be in five recent polls, but he said the ones I were named in didn’t count ecause they were online or out of date. But when (former New Mexico governor) Gary Johnson was let in to the South Carolina debates, they went back five months to allow him in.”

Karger has created to gather support, and today launched a public petition drive that you can sign if you’d like to support his presence in the debate.