The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Mitt-Mania In Des Moines

Posted on | August 11, 2011 | 5 Comments

Gwen Ifill and Charlie Cook talk to each other while David Weigel talks to
Iowa Republicans at Wednesday’s Polk County GOP fundraiser.

One of the things that gets lost in all the horse-race coverage of a political campaign — who’s up? who’s down? — is the sense of what a campaign actually looks like at ground level. News reporters are trying to get The Big Scoop, and so they seldom report about the swirling scene of the campaign. Why? Because political journalists see this stuff everyday and, after a while, they take it for granted. For some reason, however, the scene always catches my eye, as you see from the lead of my latest American Spectator column:

DES MOINES — Charlie Cook of National Journal was talking to Gwen Ifill of PBS in the back yard, and Carl Cameron of Fox News was in the front yard, while reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Philadelphia Inquirer milled around among the guests at the home of a local businessman here. They were all awaiting the arrival of the guest of honor at a fundraiser for the Polk County Republican Party. When Mitt Romney finally did arrive, TV camera crews, photographers and reporters rushed down to the street where they encircled him in a moving scrum as he made his way across the lawn to the front door.
The former Massachusetts governor hasn’t visited Iowa very often this year, and his rare visit Wednesday was occasioned by the same event that brought so many big-name journalists to town: Thursday’s televised debate, two days before Saturday’s Republican straw poll at Iowa State University in Ames. But while the national media turned out in droves to cover the Des Moines visit of the GOP’s national front-runner, these reporters and pundits from out of town aren’t eligible to vote in the straw poll, and few Iowa Republicans are expected to cast their votes Saturday for Romney. …

Please read the whole thing. I happen to have a video of Romney’s arrival at the event. You’ll see I was in the driveway talking to Romney’s senior advisor Eric Fernstrom when The Man arrived and set off a media lemming stampede:

A couple more photos from the event:

Mitt talks with guests near the buffet table. I can now report — I’m not sure if this is a national exclusive — that the former Massachusetts governor ate a pulled pork sandwich.

Mitt locates an actual Iowa Republican amid the horde of media.

My Spectator column, by the way, was half-written before I went to the Romney event. Two of my sources for the column were people I’d met during a monthly Wednesday lunch meeting of Iowa conservative leaders. The guy who invited me to that meeting was Will Upton of Americans for Tax Reform. We then went to Mickey’s Irish Pub on Court Street, where I started working on my column at the patio bar. Here is Will at Mickey’s:

So, with my column half-written, Will and I then went to the Romney event together and, when we got to the sign-in table, I said to the lady, “Grover Norquist sent us.”

How could they say no to that?

After I’d hit my deadline at 11 p.m., Will and I returned to Mickey’s for … uh, serious discussions of tax-related issues. I’m sure Mr. Norquist will understand why Will’s expense account for this trip includes a certain number of beverages under the category of “media relations.”

Because it’s against my religion to pick up the tab.

I’m about to head up to Ames to catch the scene prior to tonight’s debate. Which means it’s time for you to hit the freaking tip jar. But then again, isn’t always time to hit the tip jar?



5 Responses to “Mitt-Mania In Des Moines”

  1. Joe
    August 11th, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

    I would like to see the real Mitt Romney.  I will 100% support him if he is the nominee, but I cannot support him as nominee until he explains to me why he is the best candidate out of the current field. 

  2. Donald Douglas
    August 11th, 2011 @ 7:41 pm
  3. John C. Randolph
    August 11th, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    This is the real Mitt Romney:  

    Depraved indifference to human suffering.  

  4. McGehee
    August 11th, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    People keep misspelling the man’s last name. It’s Romneycare.

  5. TC_LeatherPenguin
    August 11th, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    Someone tell Weigel he needs to lay off the donuts… and dear Lord, that head!