Posted on | August 13, 2011 | 64 Comments
UPDATE 6:41 p.m. ET: AMES, Iowa – Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann has won the Iowa Republican Straw Poll of 2012 presidential candidates.
UPDATE 6:47 p.m. ET:
Bachmann 4,823 (28.5%)
Paul 4,671 (27.6%)
Perry 718 (write-in)
Quick analysis — obviously, Pawlenty’s toast. He spent more than a million bucks to finish a distant third. Santorum gets a real boost from his 4th-place finish. Herman Cain made the top five, but not as strong as he had hoped.
Rick Perry — as a write-in — out-polled Romney, who was on the ballot.
UPDATE 7 p.m. ET: Just interviewed Frank Luntz: “Rick Perry, who wasn’t even on the ballot, got more votes than Mitt Romney, who was in the debate 48 hours ago. Wow.”
UPDATE 7:11 p.m. ET: Also interviewed Mike Huckabee, who said: “I think it was a great day for all the Republicans — a big win for Michele Bachmann. But, it was probably not a day that takes Pawlenty completely out of it. It’s going to be tough for him, but on the other hand, I don’t think he’ll quit right away.” On Rick Santorum’s fourth-place finish: “I think it shows that he’s beginning to get some mommentum. Rick’s got a strong message and he’s a strong candidate. He’s a good guy.”
I’ve got more, but I was just told that Michele Bachmann will give a statement in five minutes at her bus.
UPDATE 7:40 p.m. ET: So much for the “statement” — she was surrounded by a giant media scrum, and I could barely see her. Readers who’ve followed this campaign trip from the start know that, last Friday, I covered Bachmann during her appearance at a muddy rain-soaked Christian music festival in West Des Moines. There were only three or four reporters at that event, including me. Now? Everywhere she goes, she’s surrounded by reporters and cameras.
And I just scored an exclusive video interview with Rick Santorum, who’s feeling very optimistic about his chances. You remember his visit to the barn in Roland, right?
I’ll upload that video — and many, many more — later on. But not on this craptastic WiFi connection. So I’m getting out of here and heading back to the hotel. Tomorrow, Rick Perry’s coming into Iowa, and I may cover that, too. Please hit the tip jar.
* * * PREVIOUSLY * * *
In front of T-Paw’s tent at the Ames Straw Poll
“No parking for miles around,” they said. But I drove right up to within 100 yards of the Hilton Coliseum here on the campus of Iowa State University, then drove over a curb and pulled up on the grass in the shade of a tree. Is this legal? Is it moral? Is it permitted by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics?
I dunno. The SPJ never asked me to join.
Just as I don’t know whether illegal parking constitutes an ethical violation, neither am I sure what the SPJ Code of Ethics says about scarfing up free barbecue provided by Republican presidential campaigns. But I’m not here to teach an ethics seminar. I’m here to report the news.
UPDATE: Currently experiencing a WiFi bandwidth suckage issue here in the Coliseum. Struggling to maintain a connection while I upload photos. Uploading video? Fuggedabout it!
An Iowa family for Rick Santorum.
UPDATE II: Just heard Ron Paul’s speech. It’s amazing, really, that this cranky old coot could inspire such a fanatical following among youth. He is a lousy speaker. His voice is not pleasant to hear, especially when boomed over the P.A. system in a basketball arena.
The Paulistas representin’ the man.
David Gregory is interviewed by a reporter for a local NBC affiliate.
UPDATE III: Tim Pawlenty is now speaking. His campaign clearly has a strong turnout, and I’d be very much surprised if they get fewer than 3,000 votes.
UPDATE IV: Inside the T-Paw tent, where supporters chowed down on Famous Dave’s BBQ:
UPDATE V: Just figured out why the WiFi is so craptastic today. Fifteen thousand people in the Coliseum are using their iPhones to update their Facebook statuses and check their e-mail.
UPDATE VI: Herman Cain just finished speaking — his basic stump speech, but it really fired up the crowd here. You can see why nobody ever wants to follow him onstage.
What comes next: The straw-poll balloting is open until 4 p.m. Once the votes are tabulated, they’ll be announced from the stage here.
The craptastic WiFi prevents me from uploading photos and video right now. Grrrrrrr.
UPDATE VII: OK, now the Coliseum is clearing out for a minute, so I have a bit of bandwidth:
Young Herman Cain supporters cheer his speech.
UPDATE VIII: The voting has now closed and we await tabulation of the vote before they announce the results. The WiFi connectivity issues got so frustrating a few minutes ago that I threw my fedora on the floor, shouted a string of frightful epithets and went outside to smoke a couple of cigarettes to calm down. When I returned, the WiFi connection had slightly improved, so apparently the cussing worked.
UPDATE IX: While I was out having my smoke, three of Rick Santorum’s kids wandered by — evidently unrecognized as such by anyone else but me.
Of course, if their Dad should get the GOP nomination, they’ll be constantly surrounded by very serious armed men with wires in their ears. At this stage, however, everything is kind of informal and it’s possible to get to know the candidates personally. This is why the early part of the campaign is so much fun — at least when the #$%& WiFi is working.
UPDATE X: The rumor here is that 16,000 ballots have been cast in the straw poll — substantially up from 2008, when 11,000 ballots were cast — and that Michele Bachmann paid for tickets for 6,000 of her supporter. One nationally known journalist said to me: “If that’s true [i.e., about her buying 6,000 tickets] Bachmann’s gonna clean Pawlenty’s clock.”
We await announcement of the totals.
UPDATE XI: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is going to be on the grounds here at Iowa State University to share her reactions to the results of straw poll. Hope it turns out better than her speech Friday at the State Fair.
UPDATE XII: Just talked to a Bachmann adviser who says they are “very confident” at this point.”
- Aug. 12: Herman Cain Speaks at Iowa State Fair
- Aug. 12: The Butter Cow Is SEXY!
- Aug. 11: THE SPIN ROOM IS OPEN!
- Aug. 11: LIVE FROM AMES!
- Aug. 11: Dave Weigel on the Undecided Iowans
- Aug. 11: Romney Shuts Down a Heckler
- Aug. 11: He Only Steals From the Best
- Aug. 11: Mitt-Mania In Des Moines
- Aug. 10: Sarah’s Coming to Iowa
- Aug. 9: Mitt Romney Comes to Des Moines, Attracts Massive Media Coverage
- 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