Entries in Iowa Caucus Season (4)


5 GOP Candidates Make Their Pitches Ahead of Iowa Caucuses

Scott Olson/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Two months before voters will cast the first votes in Iowa for the Republican primary season, five presidential candidates sought to appeal to Iowans, who could give one of them a critical boost on Jan.3, 2012.

They carried a vehemently anti-Washington message to nearly 1,000 Republican elected officials, operatives and activists who gathered at a fundraising dinner organized by the Iowa Republican Party on Friday night.

"It's like we're in a canoe coming up to the very edge of Niagara Falls, and it's like the river is moving faster right now," said presidential candidate Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, describing the situation in Washington.  "We’re living in a theater of the absurd."

Bachmann, whose hopes of winning the Republican presidential nomination are likely to turn on her performance at the caucuses, was one of several candidates who lashed out at President Obama for presiding over a ballooning national debt.

"We are tripping the wire," she said. "It looks like right at $15 trillion – breathtaking, stunning."

Bachmann's rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also spoke at Friday night's dinner, took the opportunity to acknowledge the quality of his opponents.

"Every one of them would do a heck of a lot better job than what we've got in the White House right now," he said, joking that even though they are running against each other, they'e all involved in "a project called Operation Occupy the White House."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised his fellow candidates.

"This is a great group," Gingrich said, adding that on Jan. 3, Iowa voters could help launch "the most substantive candidacy in modern times." (He, of course, meant his own.)

A recent Des Moines Register poll suggested that businessman Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are the top contenders to win the Iowa caucuses, but neither of the two candidates showed up at the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa.

Romney plans to return to the Hawkeye State on Monday for two public events in Dubuque, Iowa, and Davenport, Iowa.

His son, Josh Romney, was in the audience on Friday night. The younger Romney campaigned in Eastern Iowa earlier in the day.

Top Iowa officials with Cain's campaign handed out bumper stickers, buttons and campaign literature to potential supporters.

"Sixty days from right now, we start the process of choosing Barack Obama's Republican successor and it starts here in Iowa," Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told the gathering.

"Sixty days folks, 60 days," he said. "Every minute counts."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michele Bachmann to Kick Off 2012 Campaign in Iowa

ABC News(WATERLOO, Iowa) -- Her website says, "It all Begins in Iowa," and Rep. Michele Bachmann is set to start campaigning for the United States presidency Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, where she was born.

Bachmann, R-Minn., informally announced her bid two weeks ago at the first Republican debate in New Hampshire.

"I filed today my paperwork to seek the office of the presidency of the United States," she said.

But Monday's stop is where she is expected to make her candidacy more formal, to start campaigning, and to tie in her Iowa roots and her faith, issues that could resonate with voters in the Hawkeye State.

Because it traditionally holds the nation's first caucuses of presidential primary seasons, Iowa has been viewed as critical for primary candidates -- though the eventual 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, made few visits to the state during his primary campaign.

For Bachmann, a candidate with strong Tea Party support, showering Iowans with attention could prove more worthwhile.  Tea Party groups claim to be strong in areas such as Des Moines, Dubuque, the Quad Cities, Cedar Falls, southern Iowa and Spencer.

On Sunday, Bachmann, a self-professed religious conservative, told CBS' Face the Nation that she, "got the sense from God to run for office."

Bachmann's campaign kickoff will come days after a new Des Moines Register Iowa poll placed her a close second among Republican candidates to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 23 percent to 22 percent, well within the margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The Iowa Poll's results are based on telephone interviews with 400 likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers from June 19 to 22.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Confident He'll Make It to Iowa Caucus

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Before a speech in Baltimore Thursday evening, Newt Gingrich told reporters he’s confident he’ll be in the presidential race through the Iowa caucus next year.

“Sure, of course,” Gingrich told reporters when asked about the Iowa caucus.  “These things happen over and over.  They fascinate the media.  They have no long term historic meaning.  Either there will be a message that resonates with 14 million unemployed.  There will be a message that resonates when one out of every four houses is worth less than its mortgage.  There will be a message that resonates when there are three wars and no strategic coherence in the administration, or there won’t be.  If there is, I’ll be a contender in January.”

The Gingrich campaign turned down an option to buy a spot for the Ames Iowa Straw Poll Thursday afternoon.  An aide to Gingrich told ABC News they are intent on focusing on the caucuses and still determining whether they’ll participate in the straw poll.

“It’s a very important part of the Iowa caucus,” spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News of the Iowa straw poll.  “We support its traditions and the important role it plays.”

When asked after the speech why he chose not to purchase a spot, Gingrich told ABC News to “Cover the speech.”

Bidding for a spot at the straw poll began at $15,000.  Rep. Ron Paul made the highest bid, paying $31,000 for a spot.

Gingrich used his speech at the Maryland GOP dinner Thursday night to criticize the president’s claim that the “tide of war is receding” and pointed to the threats posed by Pakistan and Iran, and turmoil in countries like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

“Is the tide of war receding or is there a potential tsunami of violence building offshore?” Gingrich repeatedly asked the crowd.  “I want to challenge the president to withdraw the phrase because it totally misleads the American people and it represents a delusion of the real world.”

Prior to his speech, Gingrich held a roundtable fundraiser for his campaign.  Earlier this week, two top fundraisers for the campaign quit.

The Gingrich campaign is planning fundraisers as they head into the final week of the fundraising quarter.

“I ask everyone I can for money.  I’d love to have your support,” Gingrich told reporters.

Newt heads to Iowa on Saturday for the first time in over a month.  He will join the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour in Indianola, Iowa.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Potential GOP Presidential Candidates Kick Off Iowa Caucus Season

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- At an event billed by Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad as the “first significant event of the caucus season,” five 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls offered sweeping criticism of President Obama and delivered pitches for their own candidacies.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who began the exploratory phase of his campaign for the Republican nomination last week, wasted no time painting a picture of his first day in office. Among his top priorities if elected, Gingrich said he would “abolish every single czar in the White House and their offices” and reinstate President Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy to ensure, as Gingrich put it, that “no American tax money will go to abortions anywhere outside the U.S., period.”

More broadly, Gingrich complained that Republicans did not do enough to limit the power of the political left when they controlled the White House and that the country was in need of “deep” and “profound” political change. He accused President Obama of sharing the views of the “secular socialist left” and called on Republicans to unite in their efforts to defeat him in 2012.

“There should be no distinction, between economic, national security and social conservatives,” Gingrich said.

At the gathering outside Des Moines, organized by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, another potential candidate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, focused on religious values and social issues.

“We need to be a country that turns toward God, not a country that turns away from God,” Pawlenty said. “The constitution was designed to protect people of faith from government, not to protect government from people of faith.”

Pawlenty called the national debt “immoral,” said the unborn should have a “right to life” and defended traditional marriage. He also touted his record as governor of Minnesota where he said he fought back against entrenched Democratic interests to usher in conservative policies.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told the audience of several hundred Iowans who gathered Monday night at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa that he had been “out fighting the war” on moral issues as an elected official and in the years since he left Washington. Santorum said he fought so hard that his children used to think his first name was “ultra” -- as in “ultra conservative” -- as a result of the reputation he gained in the press.

“Once you stick your head out on the social issues, once you fight for the moral fabric of our country” he said, “you’re labeled.”

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, who started a presidential exploratory committee last week, called himself  “a seasoned warrior against special interest money,” touting his promise not take money from political action committees and cap all donations at $100.

“I’ve always been a church-going Methodist boy from a cotton field in north Louisiana,” Roemer said. “I’m a pro-life, traditional values man. I’m the only person thinking of running for president who was elected as a congressman and as a governor.”

Herman Cain, a Georgia businessman and the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, said he decided to launch a presidential exploratory committee because he was “compelled into a position of leadership.” If elected, Cain said, he would focus on changing the nation “from an entitlement society to an empowerment society,” adding that only businesses not government could create jobs.

“Let me ask you a rhetorical question: When was the last time anything was micromanaged from Washington, D.C. and it worked?” Cain asked. “Time’s up.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio