Entries in Campaign Trail (4)


The Squat N’Gobble: GOP Candidates Make Quirky Campaign Stops

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(BLYTHEWOOD, S.C.) -- While many will argue over whether the GOP candidates’ statements are kooky or calculated, some of the locations they chose to say them in are unarguably quirky.

Forget chain restaurants and high-end hotel ballrooms: When the Republican presidential hopefuls are on the stump, it’s in down-home diners like Daddy Pop’s Tumble Inn Diner in Claremont, N.H., or family-owned restaurants like Lizard’s Thicket in Blythewood, S.C.

“We have a good representation of the people here in South Carolina,” said Lizard’s Thicket spokeswoman, Sara Krisnow, “from top executives to blue collar workers and families. So that’s probably why they chose to come here.”

Rick Perry seems to have a particular knack for choosing campaign locations with out-of-the-ordinary names. Besides Lizard’s Thicket, where he spoke Saturday, the Texas governor has stumped at both The Fainting Goat and the Giggling Goat, as well as Fat Jack’s Grillin and Chillin, Doughy Joey’s Peetza Joynt and the Squat N’ Gobble.

Michele Hamilton, a server at Squat N’ Gobble who saw Perry speak at the Bluffton, S.C., eatery on Friday, said the venue choice showed that Perry would look out for lower-class Americans, not just the wealthy.

“This is like a little down-home country store and I feel like he was for the lower class people of the world and the other ones [presidential candidates] are trying to reach the wealthy people,” Hamilton said.

But while their names may by unusual, many of these local hangouts are no strangers to political campaigns.

Lizard’s Thicket, which has played host to half of the GOP presidential candidates this cycle, was a go-to spot for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 White House bid. A book about the 2008 presidential race, “Game Change,” even had a chapter named after the South Carolina staple, “Fear and Loathing in the Lizard’s Thicket.”

Krisnow said people thought her grandfather was “crazy” when, 30 years ago, he named his restaurant Lizard’s Thicket, “but it’s worked for us.”

And with specials like “fried chicken livers” and “Southern-style pot roast,” Lizard’s Thicket may have been a taste of home for Gingrich and Perry, both of whom are from the South.

But while many of these mom-and-pop places open their doors (or countertops, in Jon Huntsman’s case) to political stump speeches, one restaurant owner was less than thrilled about campaign visits to his small-town New Hampshire eatery.

Colby’s Breakfast & Lunch in Portsmouth, N.H., banned politicians from its 10-table restaurant, hanging a sign on the door that read, “No Politicians, No Exceptions,” Seacoast Online reported.

Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and little-known GOP presidential candidate Buddy Roemer all visited the diner prior to its newly instated politician ban.

But that anti-candidate sentiment seems to be the exception rather than the norm.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ames Straw Poll: Bits and Pieces From the Campaign Trail 

Eric Thayer/Getty Images(AMES, Iowa) -- The preliminary moment of truth has arrived. Iowans will cast a ballot of confidence Saturday for their GOP presidential hopeful in the Ames Straw Poll.

But as ABC's Michael Falcone and Amy Walter point out, Saturday's event is less American Idol and more Survivor.

Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann need a strong showing here to prove they have what it takes to win 2012’s Caucus. And ABC's Matt Jaffe reports that "the consensus here in Iowa is that Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul—in some order—will likely compose the top three."

ABC's Jake Tapper breaks down the stakes and the expectations leading up to the big day:


Here’s the schedule of speakers at today’s straw poll (all times central time):

12:00 p.m. Program Begins
12:15 p.m. Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn delivers remarks
12:20 p.m. Governor Terry Branstad delivers remarks
12:30 p.m. Chairman Strawn welcomes all candidates on stage (press shot)
12:40 p.m. Senator Rick Santorum delivers remarks
1:00 p.m. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds delivers remarks
1:15 p.m. Congressman Ron Paul delivers remarks
1:40 p.m. Congressman Steve King delivers remarks
1:50 p.m. Governor Tim Pawlenty delivers remarks
2:10 p.m. Senator Chuck Grassley delivers remarks
2:20 p.m. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann delivers remarks
2:40 p.m. Congressman Tom Latham delivers remarks
2:50 p.m. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter delivers remarks
3:15 p.m. Herman Cain delivers remarks
4:00 p.m. Straw Poll voting closes.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn will deliver the results on stage immediately after they’ve been tabulated, according to the party.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama on the Campaign Trail

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- President Obama will spend Friday on the campaign trail.  He is scheduled to deliver remarks Friday afternoon at an event in Los Angeles for Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., as well as at a Democratic National Committee rally. Both events will be held at the University of Southern California. He is also scheduled to speak at another DNC rally in Las Vegas Friday evening, followed by a private dinner for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


The First Lady Hits the Campaign Trail

Photo Courtesy - The White House(MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin) -- First Lady Michelle Obama heads out on the campaign trail Wednesday, making Wisconsin the first stop on her multi-state tour.  The First lady will be speaking at a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, one of the most endangered Democratic Senate candidates this cycle.

“You see, more than anything else, I come at this as a mom,” Obama plans to say, according to excerpts of her speech from the White House.  “When I think about the issues facing our nation, I think about what it means for my girls, and I think about what it means for the world we’re leaving for them and for all our children.  As I travel around this country, and look into the eyes of every single child I meet, I see what’s at stake.”

She will also travel to Chicago today to appear at events for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulis and Reps. Dan Seals, Debbie Halvorson and Bill Foster.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio