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Entries in Caucuses (15)

Monday
May142012

An Iowa Endorsement for Romney, 5 Months After Caucus

Office of Rep. Steve King(WASHINGTON) -- Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told reporters Mitt Romney will campaign in his state Tuesday, giving a “major policy speech on out-of-control spending and debt” at Drake University in Des Moines. He also announced his endorsement of Romney — a nod he had been expected to do before the Iowa caucuses in January.

“I’ve said all along I’ll be an enthusiastic supporter of our eventual nominee,” King said on a Republican National Committee conference call. “It’s clear Mitt Romney is our nominee and it will happen in Tampa. I’m predicting that that is the result and I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Mitt Romney.”

King said he will be excited to see Romney Tuesday in his state and “will continue” to work on his behalf to help him win Iowa and the election in November. King revealed just one day before the Jan. 3 caucuses he would not make an endorsement.

Despite his late endorsement, King said he is going to be “very engaged” in the debate over the debt and deficit.

The conference call starts a week-long roll out from the RNC highlighting the president’s “failure on the debt and deficit,” said the RNC’s Ryan Mahoney on the call.

Earlier Monday, the committee released a web video which includes clips of President Obama pledging to cut the nation’s deficit in half and pay it down — this while a graphic shows the deficit increasing. It ends with the words “empty promises” across the screen.

King compared America’s economic state to the economic crisis in Greece, saying the nation will be “approaching the situation Greece is in if we have a second Obama term.”

He called Romney a “consummate manager” and said, “No one questions his economic understanding and ability.”

On the call, King cited Supreme Court appointments as “a great motivator” for Iowans to support Romney in November, despite the bruising primary process that played out most visibly in his home state.

“It was a long, long hard-fought presidential nominating process, especially in Iowa,” King said. “And it takes a while to heal up those wounds.”

Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses, although Romney was initially called the winner due to a counting error.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Iowa GOP Examines What Went Wrong with Caucuses

Hemera/Thinkstock(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- It was one of the logistical lowlights of the 2012 primary.

After a late night of vote counting, the Iowa GOP announced Mitt Romney as the caucuses’ tentative winner, having staved off Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes.

“The good news is we were able to verify the vote reports tonight,” then-chairman Matt Strawn said at a news conference, noting that Iowa’s 1,774 precincts would have two weeks to certify their vote tallies.

Two weeks later, the Iowa GOP announced that Santorum had won by 34 votes. Eight precincts, meanwhile, could not be certified, and a party official made it clear that the votes would never be counted. A week and a half later, Strawn resigned as party chairman.

The Iowa GOP has now set itself to the task of figuring out what happened and how to fix it next time, having formed an Iowa Caucus Review Committee comprised of 17 party members including county chairs, former state-party officials, party activists, volunteers and supporters of multiple presidential campaigns.

Next Thursday, the committee will convene its first meeting, where it will hear the first round of reports from subcommittees on vote tabulation, public information and volunteer training.

“The mistakes that were made were very fixable,” said Bill Schickel, the Iowa GOP co-chairman, who is chairing the committee to revisit caucus mishaps. Schickel and party officials already have some idea of what those mistakes were.

On caucus night, precinct volunteers phoned in results to an automated system after counting votes. When it came time to certify the ballots cast, affirming them on forms supplied by the state party, the caucus-night results did not match and the winner was reversed.

“We had redundancy built into the system, but probably not enough, and the committee will be closely examining that,” Schickel said. “Because we did not have redundancy in the system, and because volunteers were doing their patriotic duty of calling in results … I think maybe more of the focus was on that and less was on the follow-up paperwork. Obviously, both aspects of it were important.”

Schickel said the committee is consulting with Democrats, and that both parties are “united in our goal” of smooth-running caucuses. He also suggested the debacle of losing votes and prematurely announcing different results wasn’t so egregious when put in perspective.

“The good news is we had one of the largest turnouts ever in the Iowa caucuses, it was one of the closest elections in the history of the United States, we had 100 percent of precincts reporting on caucus night, and the final results had better than 99 percent reporting,” Schickel said. “And that’s a pretty good track record.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar132012

GOP Candidates Get Ready to Face Off in Alabama, Mississippi

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The long slog that the Republican presidential primary has become will swing through the Deep South on Tuesday when voters in Alabama and Mississippi head to the polls, but a decisive result of any kind seems unlikely.

For front-runner Mitt Romney, who appears all but certain to secure the nomination eventually, a victory in either state would be a massive boost, giving him sorely needed southern success.  For Rick Santorum, a win would bolster his argument that the race is far from over.  And Newt Gingrich may need victories in Alabama and Mississippi more than either of his rivals, but his campaign has refused the notion that both states are must-wins.

A series of primaries over the weekend provided a preview of the race to come.  Santorum romped to a commanding win in Kansas, the weekend’s single biggest prize, but Romney captured the bulk of delegates in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands, giving the former Massachusetts governor more delegates from the four contests than Santorum.

The race, it seems, has become a battle of math versus momentum.  Even if Santorum manages to put together a winning streak in the upcoming states, Romney, with his superior campaign organization, will likely continue to amass so many delegates that the nomination will ultimately be his.

The math argument is one that the Romney campaign has been making since Super Tuesday.

“The nomination is an impossibility for Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich,” a Romney campaign strategist said last Wednesday, claiming that it would take “an act of God” for one of their two rivals to win.

If Romney has math on his side -- to date Romney has secured 454 delegates, more than double the 217 that Santorum has.  The former Pennsylvania senator leads Romney 34 percent to 30 percent in a new national CBS/New York Times poll and he stands to do well in a series of upcoming states, including Alabama and Mississippi, where even Romney aides acknowledge that their candidate may not have that much support, despite the endorsement of the governors of both states and comic Jeff Foxworthy.

“When we have our nominee going out there and trying to sell the American public to vote for him because of mathematics, we are in very, very tough shape,” Santorum said at a campaign stop over the weekend.  “This isn’t about math.  This is about vision.  It’s about leadership.  It’s about taking this country in a direction that is critical because big things are at stake in this country.”

For Santorum to keep making his momentum argument, success in Alabama and Mississippi is imperative.  Recent polls show a close race in both states.

It is entirely possible for Santorum to win both states, but still come out as the loser in terms of delegates.  Both Alabama and Mississippi award delegates proportionally, so Romney is likely to do well enough to gain at least some delegates there.

In addition, caucuses will also be held in Hawaii and American Samoa, where -- as evidenced by his success in Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands -- Romney is considered likely to win.

Gingrich, meanwhile, lags far behind both Romney and Santorum, making the contests in Alabama and Mississippi potentially more important for him than for his rivals.  The former House speaker has only won two states -- South Carolina and Georgia -- and a total of 109 delegates to date.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar062012

Super Tuesday: The 10-State Voting Extravaganza

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney is in a solid position heading into Super Tuesday, poised to win at least four states by wide margins.

In Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia, Romney is expected to gather large swaths of the vote, setting up high expectations in the 10 Super Tuesday contests, leaving Ohio as the battleground that could make or break his evening.

But how will Romney fare in the logistical battle for delegates, the "real" measure of which candidate has edged closer to the nomination?

In theory, Romney should be able to win between 215 and 250 delegates on Tuesday -- about half of the 437 at stake, and more than any other single candidate.  But that's more of a guess than a hard prediction.

The Republican Party's tangled delegate system allows each state to devise its own rules, and all those rules differ from one another in subtle or radical ways.  To accurately predict who will win which delegates where, one has to know how each congressional district will vote, whether certain candidates will meet 15 percent or 20 percent thresholds in districts and states, and whether some states will become winner-take-all if enough votes go to the leader.

Not all of the 437 Super Tuesday delegates will be "awarded," as most states will send three party officials to the national convention as unbound delegates.

A candidate will need 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.  Romney currently leads with 184 delegates, according to the latest ABC News delegate estimate.  Rick Santorum (91), Newt Gingrich (30) and Ron Paul (23) follow.

Those numbers include ABC's projections of how unbound and not-yet-selected caucus-state delegates will vote.  Strictly in terms of delegates who have already been awarded, Romney (118) still leads, with Gingrich (29), Santorum (17) and Paul (8) following.

If no candidate reaches 1,144 delegates by August, Republicans will decide their nominee on the floor of their national convention in Tampa, Fla. 

Here are the delegates at stake in the 10 contests being held on Super Tuesday:

1. Georgia (Primary), 76 delegates
2. Ohio (Primary), 66 delegates
3. Tennessee (Primary), 58 delegates
4. Virginia (Primary), 49 delegates
5. Oklahoma (Primary), 43 delegates
6. Massachusetts (Primary), 41 delegates
7. Idaho (Caucus), 32 delegates
8. North Dakota (Caucus), 28 delegates
9. Alaska (Caucus), 27 delegates
10. Vermont (Primary), 17 delegates

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar032012

Analysis: Why Are GOP Primaries Such a Mess?

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican primary season isn't over, but viewed as a whole, it's been something of a logistical farce. Just ask Rick Santorum.

The former Pennsylvania senator is running a shoestring campaign and he won the very first voter preference contest, the Iowa caucuses.

The problem was nobody knew it until 16 days later when the Iowa Republican Party announced the certified result that Santorum won by the razor-thin margin of 34 votes. At least we think he did. Eight precincts' votes were lost and not counted.

Mitt Romney, who placed second, was able to declare an eight-vote victory on caucus night and carry that momentum into the next primary of New Hampshire.

Not that it really mattered. The Iowa caucuses don't award any delegates to the national convention.

The mistakes meant reports that Romney was on track to an historic victory in the first Republican presidential preference contests morphed somehow in one day into an historic split of the first three contests between three different candidates when Newt Gingrich won South Carolina.

The problems didn't end there.

In Michigan, the caucus rules publicized by the state party before the contest would have given Santorum 15 delegates to take to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August. Except those rules, which had been circulated to the media and in a memo to the various Republican presidential campaigns before the Feb. 28 primary, weren't, apparently, the real rules.

The real rules, according to a vote the day after the primary by the Michigan GOP steering committee, gave Mitt Romney 16 delegates and Rick Santorum 14. It wouldn't be a stretch to call the Michigan GOP's decision unfair. The Santorum campaign has appealed to the national party to step in.

The likelihood that selection of the GOP nominee comes down to that one delegate is slim.

But in addition to that single delegate, add on the Ohio delegates Santorum won't be eligible to receive in voting on Super Tuesday—at least nine and maybe more. This is more the fault of Santorum's campaign, which didn't file the appropriate paperwork in specific congressional districts.

And it's not as big a snafu for the Santorum campaign as Virginia is. He won't be eligible for any of the 49 Virginia delegates after missing a state filing deadline.

That's still nowhere near the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination. But every delegate counts.

In Ohio and Tennessee, where Santorum leads in polls, he will get delegates proportionally. Other big states, like Florida, awarded their delegates in a winner-take-all format.

And at the end of the day, running for president in a major party has just as much to do with having your name on all the ballots as it does having the ideas that resonate with a majority of Republicans.

This is part of what has led to movements like Americans Elect, which is seeking to get a non-party candidate on every ballot in the country on Election Day. It is an online process dreamed up by political consultants and politically minded rich folks who want to see an alternative. Their motto is "Pick a President, Not a Party."

However, the most supported candidate in the Americans Elect primary is Republican Ron Paul, whose supporters are the most loyal in politics. And Paul, who would eviscerate a good portion of the federal government, has very little chance of gaining mainstream support in a general election.

While Florida gives its delegates winner-take-all, the largest prize—California—splits its delegates by congressional district. Texas, which controls the second-largest number of delegates behind California, allocates its delegates proportionally.

What's not clear about Texas is when the primary will occur. Federal courts have rejected the new GOP-drawn legislative maps in an ongoing legal fight. Texas Republicans have moved the primary back at least twice and is still not 100 percent certain of the probable, court-recommended May 29 date.

The rules for running for president in a major party are messy, byzantine and different down to the local level, in some places.

Counting of ballots can be spotty, as in Iowa, or ineffective. It took the Nevada GOP nearly two days to count the caucus votes from the same number of people that attend an average Major League Baseball game.

The local and state party systems are the backbone of the national parties, grooming candidates for offices at the state level and for Congress. They are the key pieces of infrastructure that help get out the vote for both parties. But they're also ungainly webs of bureaucracy with their own internal politicking.

It's not an issue that's isolated to Republicans, although their foibles have been showcased this year because there is not a major challenge to President Obama. But four years ago, remember the super delegates?

Then, as now, one of the main problems was Florida, where both statewide parties have made sport of moving their primary up in violation of national party rules.

Democratic candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton pledged in 2008 not to campaign in Florida, but conducted surreptitious activities anyway. Florida had been stripped by the national committee of all of its delegates.

There is a chance the primary campaign could have had a different outcome if Clinton had been given all of the state's delegates to begin with. The voice of Floridians supporting her candidacy was not heard at the convention. But all of the state's delegates ultimately got to go to the party anyway. The DNC surely didn't want to turn off all the party officials in the swing state of Florida.

This year, expecting, perhaps the RNC would reinstate its delegates eventually, too—the convention takes place in Tampa, Fla., after all—Florida Republicans broke the RNC's rules and moved their primary date up into January. That created a leapfrog of states moving up their primaries, shortened the campaign season, and led Iowa, which wanted to go first, to hold its caucus Jan. 3.

There is always the argument that the democracy is not supposed to be a clean and smooth-running business. The will of the people is supposed to trickle up to Washington rather than trickling back down from the national leaders. But the lack of ballot access for some major candidates, the problems in counting votes and late-changing rules have created a system of confusion that has arguably hurt the party.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Will 'Mitt-Mentum' Help Romney Win Ohio Next Week?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney’s wins in Michigan and Arizona helped him pick up a big chunk of delegates, but more importantly, it has washed away talk of a Republican party desperate for a “white knight” to jump into the primary.

Even so, one GOP bigwig finds Romney’s narrow Michigan win “unconvincing.”  Romney, this GOP strategist told ABC News, won “by being totally negative.  Where’s the hope and optimism?  He’s becoming a human wrecking ball.  A receding tide sinks all boats.”

Moreover, Romney doesn’t have an easy road ahead of him this coming week.

The first stop is the Washington state caucus on Saturday.  Romney hasn’t had a very good track record when it comes to caucuses -- he’s won two and lost three.  Rick Santorum, on the other hand, has won nothing but caucuses, and recent polling suggests Santorum is leading in the Evergreen State.

Then there's Super Tuesday on March 6.  The most recent polling shows Romney trailing in Ohio, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee.  Combined, those states hold 243 delegates.

Futhermore, as we saw Tuesday night in Michigan and in ABC/Washington Post polling this week, very conservative voters are not sold on Romney.

In Michigan, 30 percent of those who voted in the primary identified themselves as very conservative.  Romney lost the very conservative vote to Santorum by 14 points.

On Super Tuesday, very conservative voters will become a bigger part of the electorate.  In 2008, very conservative voters made up 38 percent of the GOP primary electorate in Tennessee.  They made up 39 percent of the vote in Oklahoma, and 32 percent of the vote in Georgia.

But, if we’ve learned anything from this primary campaign, it’s that momentum is king.  A good election night can move numbers -- quickly.

The first place we’ll be looking for signs of “Mitt-mentum” will be in Ohio.  The state has a similar make-up to Michigan.  There is a smaller percentage of very conservative voters and evangelicals there than in the southern states.

The most recent Quinnipiac Poll showed Santorum with a seven point lead in the Buckeye State.  But, just a month earlier, Romney had a nine point lead in the state.

Look for both the Santorum and Romney camps to hunker down in Ohio over the next week.  Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who has been touting his blue collar roots, can’t afford to lose two Midwestern states.  If Romney loses in Ohio, talk about his vulnerability will continue as will the hand-wringing by GOP insiders.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb172012

Maine’s Caucus Confusion: Romney's Win at Risk?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(AUGUSTA, Maine) -- The Maine Republican Party announced Feb. 11 that Mitt Romney had won the state’s caucuses by 194 votes. In the days after the announcement, however, some problems began to emerge.

Reports indicated that the state party had omitted numbers for places such as Waldo and Waterville. Rep. Ron Paul supporters complained about the decision not to count the results from Washington County, a rural county in the northeastern most part of the state, which had decided to delay its caucuses a week because of weather concerns -- some say deliberately to hurt his chances.

After almost a week of pressure, the Maine GOP finally released a carefully worded announcement saying that the party was “reconfirming” the results of individual caucuses.

“We have worked diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine to reconfirm the results of their individual caucuses,” read the statement, put forth by Maine GOP chairman Charlie Webster. “These totals, once confirmed, will be posted on the Maine Republican Party Website.”

Webster assured ABC News that the new numbers do not actually change the outcome; Romney still placed first in the state. “It doesn’t affect the total in a significant way,” Webster said. “The results are the same.”

The question of what will happen with Washington County’s caucuses, however, is going to linger, at least for a couple of weeks. Webster told ABC News that the Republican State Committee will make a final ruling about whether it will include the Washington County results in the final caucus tally when the committee meets March 10.

The party’s Executive Committee, of which Webster is a member, has recommended that the Republican State Committee include the votes, but ultimately the State Committee will have the final say.

Paul needs a net increase of 195 votes to claim victory in the Pine Tree State. In 2008, Washington County cast a total of 113 votes. The Texas congressman took eight of them.

If the results of Washington County change the outcome of the race, the timing of the decision regarding whether to actually include the county in the final tally will likely lessen the blow. That’s because March 10 falls after Super Tuesday -- on March 6 -- when 10 states are scheduled to hold their voting contests and when the race will take a clearer shape.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Three States Vote: Can Romney Hang On?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Voters in three states made their picks for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, as Mitt Romney tried to win enough votes to deny his rivals any momentum going into the first lull of the primary season.

The results of the caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and the primary in Missouri are expected to be known Tuesday night, and while the four candidates are competing for delegates -- 76 between the two caucuses -- the real prize is the evolving media narrative that accompanies a surprise victory, or a better-than-expected finish.

Tuesday is the first day this year when there are contests in more than one state.

Rick Santorum and Ron Paul skipped last week's Florida primary to campaign elsewhere, and that strategy could pay off. Santorum's efforts in Minnesota and Missouri have caught the attention of the Romney campaign, which put Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on a conference call to talk trash about the ex-senator from Pennsylvania.

Romney, once again the undisputed front-runner after wins in Florida and in Nevada, won the 2008 caucuses in Colorado and in Minnesota handily. But a win in just one of those states Tuesday night might not be enough to keep him on cruise control if he falters in the other two. His campaign tried to lower expectations by arguing that no candidate can win them all.

"Of course, there is no way for any nominee to win first place in every single contest -- John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents to notch a few wins too," Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, wrote in a memo for reporters.

Not helping Romney's situation is Newt Gingrich, who abandoned hope in all three states and has moved on to Ohio. His absence -- he's not even listed on the ballot in Missouri -- potentially frees up conservative voters to side with Santorum, who has been itching for a good headline since his resurgent victory in Iowa, the first state to vote in the GOP primary.

"Santorum probably resonates well with many Republicans here," said John Petrocik, the chairman of the political science department at the University of Missouri. "This is a culturally conservative place. Conservative religious groups, they're certainly a factor in Missouri, so I could imagine him doing fairly well."

The previous voting contests were all scheduled in cluster, but after Tuesday's races there is a lull, which will allow the story of the outcomes in these three states to linger for weeks before another primary. Maine has a week of caucuses that ends Feb. 11, but after that the next voting isn't until Feb. 28, in Arizona and in Michigan.

It's also unlikely that any of the candidates will drop out of the race after Tuesday's votes. Gingrich, who dethroned Romney as the front-runner after a South Carolina win, has vowed to contest every state; Santorum is expected to get at least enough votes to prove that he can stay competitive; and Paul hasn't shown signs that he'd quit despite not yet winning a single primary or caucus.

All of which is unpleasant news for Romney, who has been forced to respond to venomous attacks from his rivals instead of focusing his attention on President Obama. Four years ago, Romney ended his 2008 bid for the GOP nomination shortly after losing to John McCain on "Super Tuesday," which was Feb. 5 that year. This time around, "Super Tuesday" isn't until March 6.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

Ron Paul Heads to Nevada; Strategy Called ‘Odd’

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While his GOP rivals duke it out in a bloody Florida primary on Tuesday, Ron Paul will continue stumping for votes in the caucus states that dominate the political calendar over the next week.

Paul does well in caucus states, where superior organization and passionate supporters play to his strengths and could allow the Texas congressman to pick up more delegates than Gingrich and Santorum combined this week.

Even Republican strategist Karl Rove admitted that strategy provides Paul the biggest advantage over the next week while speaking on Fox News Monday night.

“I think it’s going to be an advantage for Ron Paul,” Rove said on On The Record with Greta Van Susteren.  “He’s been spending a lot of time on caucus states.  His campaign manager announced this is going to be a big focus.”

While Florida Republicans will hit the polls on Tuesday, Paul will be stumping in Colorado and then Nevada.  The Paul campaign said they are heavily focused on picking up Nevada’s 34 delegates by turning out Hispanic and Mormon voters.

It’s a strategy Eric Herzik, chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, finds “odd.”

“It’s an odd strategy -- Republican Latinos are not a big demographic group,” Herzik told ABC News.  “I don’t see what the natural link is with these groups.”

Most Hispanics don’t vote Republican, and Romney has a lock on his fellow Mormons, said Herzik, adding, “It’s his vote to lose.”

Despite that, Paul’s message of limited government and individual liberties plays well in Nevada, which is a conservative anti-tax state but also has liberal pro-choice laws and the lowest average attendance of church in the nation, Herzik said.

Paul’s campaign has been running television ads in Nevada since last summer, and senior aides add that they will continue to run them in the state through the Feb. 4 caucuses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec182011

Perry and Bachmann Cross Paths in Iowa, Each Hoping for Traction

ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Fighting county by county, handshake by handshake, GOP contenders Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Rick Perry crossed paths twice Saturday in the northwest corner of Iowa, each hoping that time spent on the ground here will equal votes come the first in the nation caucuses on Jan 3.

Both candidates are lagging in the polls despite the socially conservative bona fides that Republican Iowa caucus-goers traditionally look for. Iowa voters routinely say they make their decision only after shaking a candidate’s hand, and each is hoping that old-school retail politics, gruelingly practiced on days-long bus tours will be the key to their success.

Perry and Bachmann both spent Friday night in Spencer, Iowa, even staying at the same hotel. Their giant tour buses, wrapped with campaign logos, were parked just feet apart.

At Saturday’s events in Spencer and Algona, held sometimes moments apart and just a few miles away from each other, voters had to choose between which candidates to meet.

Soon after Bachmann’s Hy-Vee appearance, Perry met a voter in Spencer outside a coffee house who was asking for an autograph. The paper he wanted signed was a receipt from Hy-Vee, already bearing Bachmann’s signature.

“She’s a good gal,” Perry said of Bachmann.

But at an event in Algona, where Gov. Perry was also visiting, Bachmann had less kind words for the Texas governor, particularly with regard to his support for a mandatory vaccine for girls against a sexually transmitted disease that has been linked to cervical cancer.

“There’s real questions and real problems with Gov. Perry because of what he was involved with in the manufacture of Gardisil, and he was involved with companies in Texas that made donations to him and then there were laws passed and grants that were given,” Bachmann said of Perry, accusing him of influence peddling.

“We can’t have that,” she said. “I don’t believe in crony capitalism. People don’t want to see pay-to-play. We can’t have a candidate that’s tarnished. Gov. Perry has been involved in politics for 27 years and I’m the true outsider.”

Perry and Bachmann are each on the road until shortly before Christmas. Bachmann kicked off her tour Friday, and plans to visit all 99 of the state’s counties. She planned to make 13 stops on Saturday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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