Posts Tagged Iowa

The Candidates Return to

And in the due course of time, every four years, presidential candidates return to Iowa. As a service to readers, I’m trying to keep an eye on the Council Bluffs calendar (and Sioux City on Sundays), so I can sneak over and record as many events as I can. While we see the debates, it’s often at these meet-and-greets that the candidates get a chance to do the retail politicking that will win or lose them votes.

This afternoon, it was Rick Perry’s turn, with an event at Tish’s Restaurant. He spoke for just under 11 minutes, didn’t take any questions, and dived right into the crowd to shake hands. He took a few more shots at Romneycare than we’ve seen before, updating the stump speech to talk about a Beacon Hill Institute report about its effects on the Massachusetts economy.

As these events are designed to do, it drew supporters, opponents, and undecideds, and Perry seemed to score his biggest applause on his standard line that he, “will work to make Washington as inconsequential as possible.” One Romney supporter I spoke with said that the crowd – about 120 people – was about the right size for a top-tier candidate event at this point in the cycle.

So presented here, for the record, is the current version of his stump speech.




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Post-Debate Thoughts

Romney won.  Mostly by not losing.  He bobbed, weaved, occasionally answered a question, and looked like an adult doing it.  But he didn’t do anything to put people at ease, and still hasn’t shown that he can either take a punch or deliver one.

Everyone else looked, well, sort of 2nd tier.  Rick Santorum did the politician’s version of an Arnold Horshack impersonation, complaining twice about not getting enough airtime.  Bachmann answered a number of tough questions well, but gave back a lot of what she won when she pleaded to be allowed to keep talking past the doorbell.  The one thing she did well was deal with Pawlenty.  The governor has a perfectly good line of attack and just can’t make it work.  It fell to Rick Santorum of all people, to point out that Ron Paul (who all but said, “Come Home, America,” to the cheers of his fans and the boos of everyone else) and Bachmann want to lead the country, but couldn’t even lead their party during the debt ceiling debate.  Herman Cain, a smart man, didn’t come across that way tonight.  Gingrich came across as the least-canned, most genuine, and thoughtful of the candidates, which at this point, along with $3.58, will get him a grande latte at the flagship Starbucks in Seattle.

So Romney won.  And Rick Perry also won.

Make no mistake, the questions were tough, by all the panelists.  In fact, someone pointed out that Fox & the Examiner had, in the course of 90 minutes, asked more tough questions of the Republican candidates than the whole MSM has of Barack Obama in the entirety of his candidacy and presidency.  Conservatives are bound and determine not to repeat the liberal mistake of softballing their own guys, only to see them fail for lack of vetting once they get into office.

That said, Pat Caddell made a telling point on the Fox News ringside webcast – this was a political class debate, with a political class schedule of topics, wasting way too much time on ancillary topics and ancillary candidates.  We got Tim Pawlenty getting into a spitting match with Michelle Bachmann.  We got Rick Santorum pointing out the utter idiocy of Ron Paul’s foreign policy, while a former ambassador to China barely got to discuss foreign policy at all.  We got an entire segment on gay marriage and abortion.

The country has serious, serious economic, fiscal, and monetary issues, and not only did the moderators wait until the very end to get to jobs, none of the candidates took over the debate and forced the issue.  No wonder there’s no passion for any of the candidates who has a chance to win.


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