Posted on | August 10, 2011 | 22 Comments
DES MOINES, Iowa
Mitt Romney will be the featured guest at a “Road to the White House Republican House Party” in Des Moines this evening. That starts at 5 p.m. and then at 7 p.m. Tim Pawlenty has a rally in Ames. It’s a 45-minute drive from Des Moines to Ames, so as long as I leave the Romney event by 6, I’ll have plenty of time to get to the Pawlenty event. So those are my campaign events for today. ABC News notes Romney’s long absence from Iowa:
Romney has not spent the summer attending an endless series of campaign events like many of his fellow contenders (he’s been concentrating on fundraising) and he’s taken heat for staying a little too above-the-fray on important national issues. (He didn’t take a position on the debt ceiling deal, for example, until the last-minute.)
He’s also largely avoided the highways and dusty country roads of Iowa that candidates like Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain have been crisscrossing for weeks. Romney’s last visit to Iowa was in May.
If you want know why Americans hate journalists, look no further than this story by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman in Politico:
He’s spent a seven-figure sum and the bulk of his time on the campaign trail courting the Iowa grassroots. Operatives call his expansive Iowa organization the best in the state.
As the only mainstream Republican candidate actively competing in the Ames straw poll — thanks to Mitt Romney’s decision to skip the event and Rick Perry’s presidential race slow-walk—Tim Pawlenty may never have a better opportunity to break through in the 2012 campaign than this Saturday.
With so much firepower behind Pawlenty and so few candidates who have a plausible chance at coming out ahead, Hawkeye State politicos say Ames will be a potentially campaign-changing test of the Minnesotan’s strength.
But if Pawlenty fails to deliver, it will be a grim — and possibly fatal — omen for his underfunded presidential bid.
Who anointed Burns and Haberman with the authority to declare which Republicans are “mainstream” and “have a plausible chance”? Is it their place to decide that, e.g., Michele Bachmann is not a “mainstream Republican” and therefore doesn’t “have plausible chance”? There will be many thousands of Iowa Republicans at the Ames Straw Poll who will cast their ballots for candidates who evidently don’t merit the “mainstream” sobriquet which Burns and Haberman consider themselves uniquely fit to bestow.
And this “plausible chance” trick would not be nearly so insulting if we didn’t know in our hearts — and we do know it, don’t we? — that both Burns and Haberman (like practically everyone else at Politico) voted for Obama in 2008 and intend to vote for Obama again in 2012, so that we have partisan Democrats telling us which Republicans are “mainstream” and “plausible.” Meanwhile, here’s the lead of my latest column:
DES MOINES — Tim Albrecht likes to tell a joke about an Iowa Republican being asked whether he’s going to support a certain presidential candidate in the Ames Straw Poll. “I don’t know,” the Iowan replies. “I’ve only met him twice.”
The joke by Albrecht, spokesman for the state’s popular Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, refers to how accustomed Iowans are to being personally solicited for their support in this state whose first-in-the-nation caucuses have long been a crucial proving ground for presidential candidates. While most Americans go their entire lives without ever meeting a serious candidate for the nation’s highest office, campaigning here is a face-to-face business where voters expect to shake hands and talk directly with those who seek their votes.
That tradition of old-fashioned politicking is what the Ames Straw Poll is all about, which explains why some Iowa Republicans seem a bit miffed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s long-rumored entry into the 2012 presidential field. Last week I began calling him the “Phantom Menace” of Iowa because, like the sinister Sith of the “Star Wars” series, he seems omnipresent even though he is far away. Ads promoting Perry’s candidacy have been running in fairly heavy rotation on Iowa TV recently, and his shadow campaign has been soliciting write-in votes for Saturday’s straw poll. However, the governor himself hasn’t yet stumped here, while the other GOP candidates have been frenetically crisscrossing the state imploring Iowans to “join me here in Ames,” as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says in her own TV ads. . . .
Just as a final note: I’m meeting today with Will Upton of Americans for Tax Reform, who flew into Des Moines today to attend a Wednesday morning meeting of Iowa conservative leaders. Will called me after he landed at the Des Moines Airport and reports that Mitt Romney was on his American Eagle commuter flight into town: “He was in coach with the rest of us!”
Oh — and Ladd Ehlinger Jr. is coming to town to meet with a potential client.
- Aug. 9: Meanwhile, on the Cain Campaign …
- Aug. 9: Young Minions of the Sith Lord of Texas UPDATE: Perry Coming to Iowa Sunday
- Aug 9: Council Bluffs Loves Herman Cain
- Aug. 9: The Cain Train Keeps Rolling
- Aug. 8: Denison: Overflow Crowd Hears Herman Cain Slam Obama: ‘That’s Not Leadership!’
- Aug. 8: Sioux City: Herman Cain Begins Iowa Bus Tour With Noon Speech to Jewish Group
- Aug. 8: Fear and Loathing: From Sioux City to Council Bluffs With the Herman Cain Bus
- Aug. 8: VIDEO: ‘Who Is Herman Cain?’
- Aug. 8: Santorum’s Hope
- Aug. 7: Are You Ready for Tonight’s ‘CainCast’?
- Aug. 7: Liberal Head-Explosion Warning VIDEO: Michele Bachmann Testifies for Jesus
- Aug. 7: ‘The Lunatic Derby’
- Aug. 7: The Santorum Family’s Iowa ‘Vacation’
- Aug. 6: Rick Santorum’s Iowa Barn Party
- Aug. 6: ‘Streets’ and ‘Avenues’ in Rural Iowa
- Aug. 6: I Got Iowa, They Got the Virgin Islands
- Aug. 6: On the Scene in Iowa
- Aug. 5: Fear and Loathing at the Quality Inn
- Aug. 5: Long Knives in Iowa
- Aug. 5: Cain, Corn and … the Phantom Menace
- Aug. 4: Fear and Loathing on Highway 193; Pawlenty Aiming at Bachmann?
- Aug. 4: Michele Bachmann Touts ‘No’ Vote on Debt Ceiling Deal in Latest Iowa TV Ad
- Aug. 3: ‘Neo-Confederate Sex Panic’ Becomes the Biggest Political Punchline of the Year?
- Aug. 3: En Route to Des Moines
- Aug. 2: ‘That Evil Hour …’
- July 31: News: Herman Cain Beats Rick Perry and I Just Bought My Ticket to Des Moines