Entries in Ames Straw Poll (12)


Pawlenty on Obama: 'Stick a Fork in Him, He's About Done Politically'

Scott Olson/Getty Images(HUMBOLDT, Iowa) -- Both Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty appeared Tuesday evening at the Humboldt County Republicans' picnic just a few hours northwest of Des Moines, Iowa, and, just after Bachmann had fired up a large raucous crowd outside, Pawlenty gave a more subdued speech indoors, but one that included some stinging shots directed at President Obama.

"Look, you can almost stick a fork in him.  I think he's about done politically," Pawlenty said.  "His numbers nationally are bad.  You look at his numbers in the swing states that are going to really decide the election like Iowa and among independents, his numbers are awful."

The former Minnesota governor didn't stop there either, reprising one of his favorite comparisons for the president by likening him to "a manure spreader in a windstorm."

"On the economy he comes out yesterday and gives a speech.  The stock market is down something like 300 points.  He speaks and it goes down 300 more.  He comes out to assure the country and give confidence to the country.  There's no confidence in what he has to do," Pawlenty said.  "This guy is like a manure spreader in a windstorm.  And he's throwing it around in every direction, it doesn't smell good, he's got no focus, and it's not going in the right direction."

For her part, Bachmann spent about an hour rallying the crowd outside in the evening sun.  After the event, she autographed a sign, "Let's make Obama a one-term president.  I'll get 'er done!"

For what it's worth, the difference between the two Minnesota Republicans is not only evident in the tone of their speeches, but also in their entrances and exits as they tour Iowa.

Bachmann pulled up to the event in a massive blue bus that parked directly behind the stage, flanked by a tent on one side and a truck on the other, both emblazoned with her banners -- all part of a carefully orchestrated arrival that also included blaring music.  When she left, she paused on the steps of the bus, turned around and waved to the crowd, urging them to come to the Ames straw poll on her behalf.

Pawlenty, meanwhile, rides around in a non-descript white RV, walking into the back of the picnic room with little fanfare to await his introduction and quietly exiting the event to head off towards his next stop down the road in Fort Dodge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Santorum Recruits His Seven Kids for Iowa Campaign Trail

Rick Santorum for President(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Rick Santorum is trying to turn around his struggling, long-shot campaign and make a surprise showing at the Ames Straw Poll next week.

And he’s been bringing his family along for the ride.

Part campaign, part family vacation, the Santorums have already hit 60 of Iowa’s 99 counties and the former Pennsylvania senator will have campaigned in 50 cities in 18 days before he gets to Ames.

Speaking by phone from the road in northwest Iowa, Santorum told ABC News that he’s the “hardest working candidate” in the race and called his campaign “the little engine that could.” He feels that the 50-city blitz, started July 26, is already making a difference.

He knows he’s competing against candidates with vastly more name recognition and cash, but he hopes to surprise the field and surpass Mitt Romney, who’s not participating in the straw poll, but still has Iowa support -- or Newt Gingrich.

Santorum's campaign has struggled to gain traction in a field of Iowa candidates who are all trying to be the social, fiscal, and tea party conservative that will appeal to Iowa voters.

He says he doesn’t have the money for TV and radio ad buys, either. "I don’t have the staff or the resources that at least three others and probably four other candidates are putting in this, and you look at [Ron] Paul and [Tim] Pawlenty and [Michele] Bachmann and [Herman] Cain, they have more resources than we do and they are putting more staff on the ground,” Santorum said. “Our sense is if we could track the top five we would be very, very happy.”

In the last presidential campaign, Mike Huckabee surprised the field by coming in second in Iowa’s straw poll and then winning the caucuses, spending a fraction of what Romney spent.

Santorum is far from the first candidate to bring his family along for the Iowa ride. In 2007, Connecticut senator Chris Dodd actually moved his family to the Hawkeye state, even enrolling his two young children in public schools. Santorum hasn’t gone that far, and not all seven kids go to every event, but he says they “understand the mission.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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