Entries in Ames (3)


Countdown to Ames: Key Iowa Event Fast Approaching

Comstock/Thinkstock(AMES, Iowa) -- A week from Friday the year's biggest event in Iowa will kick off when the state fair opens its doors to more than a million visitors. But just up the road from the state capital, a far more serious contest -- and one that doesn't involve a butter sculpting contest -- will unfold only days later when many of the top Republican presidential candidates descend on a college town for an event that could set the tone for the crucial campaign battles ahead: the Ames straw poll.

Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have all been touring the Hawkeye State in recent weeks in an attempt to build support for the straw poll, set for next Saturday.

While other contenders -- frontrunner Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman -- are not officially competing in Ames, they will be keeping a close eye on what happens there. After all, they are on the ballot too.

Four years ago Romney won the straw poll, but it was Mike Huckabee's surprising second-place finish that sent the former Arkansas governor surging to victory in the Iowa caucuses that winter.

This time around Bachmann, Pawlenty and others are hoping to tear out a page from the Huckabee playbook. The secret to success in Ames, pundits say, is the right mix of strong organization, a passionate base, and low expectations. In 2007, Huckabee hardly boasted the organization or war chest of Romney, but his second-place finish -- fervent supporters flocked to Ames -- far exceeded expectations. As Huckabee said at the time, the runner-up result was really "a victory."

Various candidates in this year's field appear to possess ingredients needed to win in Ames. Rep. Bachmann, for instance, enjoys passionate support that has sent her surging up polls in recent months.

In addition, her popularity among evangelicals is similar to Huckabee's four years ago. At events across Iowa, Bachmann's staff typed furiously on iPads to sign up voters for the straw poll. But the flip side to her rise in the polls is that it raises expectations: the Minnesota congresswoman is now viewed as the favorite to win in Ames.

Fellow Minnesota native Tim Pawlenty is in almost the exact opposite position. The former governor has been languishing in the polls. A slew of "pre-obituaries" for his campaign have appeared in the national media.

Even if Ames might not crown an eventual winner, it can spell doom for a candidate who has a dismal performance. The poll has serious financial ramifications: if donors decide on the basis of the Ames results that a candidate cannot win it all, they could stop filling that hopeful's campaign coffers with money.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pawlenty to Pull Iowa Ads Off Air Three Days Before Ames Straw Poll

Scott Olson/Getty Images(AMES, Iowa) -- Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will pull his radio and TV ads off the Iowa airwaves three days before the Aug. 13 Ames straw poll in an effort to focus his resources on turnout at the highly-anticipated event.

“Ames is all about turnout so, of course, in the final few days we're focusing our resources towards getting our supporters to the straw poll,” Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant told ABC News. “We like the position we're in and the direction we're headed.”

Pawlenty has been touring Iowa relentlessly over the past few weeks, at one point trekking around the state in an RV. Later this week, he embarks on another eight-day tour, planning to cover 1,366 miles as he hits 26 cities in 21 counties across the state.

The former Minnesota governor has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ad purchases in Iowa, part of his campaign’s massive push in the Hawkeye State. But come late next week, when the straw poll is just three days away, the Pawlenty campaign will turn its focus from the airwaves to phone calls and mailers to supporters reminding them to turn out on their behalf in Ames.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michele Bachmann Unloads on Tim Pawlenty

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tim Pawlenty has been hitting out at Rep. Michele Bachmann for weeks, denouncing her record in Congress as "non-existent" and, when asked about her migraines, warning that a president has "got to be able to do the job every day, all the time."

Bachmann never returned fire -- until now.

With the Ames, Iowa, straw poll fast approaching, Bachmann unloaded on her fellow Minnesotan Pawlenty on Sunday, likening him to Barack Obama, ripping his record as Minnesota governor, and calling him a "career politician."

"Governor Pawlenty said in 2006, 'The era of small government is over ...the government has to be more proactive and more aggressive.' That's the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment, and an unconstitutional health care plan," Bachmann said in a statement. "Actions speak louder than words. When I was fighting against the unconstitutional individual mandate in healthcare, Governor Pawlenty was praising it. I have fought against irresponsible spending while Governor Pawlenty was leaving a multi-billion-dollar budget mess in Minnesota. I fought cap-and-trade. Governor Pawlenty backed cap-and-trade when he was Governor of Minnesota and put Minnesota into the multi-state Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord. While Governor Pawlenty was praising TARP -- the $700 billion bailout in 2008 -- I worked tirelessly against it and voted against it. I have demonstrated leadership and the courage of my convictions to change Washington, stop wasteful spending, lower taxes, put Americans back to work and turn our economy around."

After outlining her accomplishments in Congress, Bachmann concluded, "Real world actions speak louder than the words of career politicians."

The Pawlenty campaign was clearly pleased that Bachmann had taken the bait. Pawlenty's campaign manager Nick Ayers tweeted, "Glad an opponent engaged today. Even better...she used a bunch of weak/incorrect oppo research. back in IA to address tomrrw."

And Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said, "Congresswoman Bachmann has her facts wrong. The truth is that there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty and Congresswoman Bachmann on their issue positions. The difference is that when Governor Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories to cut spending, pass market-based health care reform, and transform a supreme court from liberal to conservative, and was elected twice in a very blue state, Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican House seat in the state.  In order to beat Barack Obama, Republicans need someone who can unite conservatives with a proven track record of winning conservative results and tough elections -- that's Governor Pawlenty. The Governor looks forward to discussing these issues eye-to-eye with voters in town halls across Iowa next week."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio