Pawlenty’s Demise Focuses Crosshairs on Obama

Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race  on Sunday morning.  He cited a poor showing in Iowa and no clear path forward.  In his exit statements, Pawlenty offered what had been missing from his campaign.  Pawlenty said:

“I’m doing this because I love this country and I want to defeat Barack Obama because I think he’s got it on the wrong course…but I don’t get my identity or my sense of worth or my values or my faith from politics. I get it from my personal faith in God, and I believe in this country, I love this country, I thought I would have been a great president.”

And with that he summed up what he should have been saying all along in this campaign.

Pawlenty's strategy of attacking frontrunners failed to rocket him to the front

Instead, Pawlenty became memorable for coining the term Obamneycare, attacking Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul for never accomplishing anything, while allowing himself to easily slip into the category of being a copy of another candidate.  Pawlenty was the governor who balanced the budget without increasing taxes beyond a cigarette tax.  But that didn’t separate him from nearly half the other candidates.  In fact, Pawlenty’s biggest differentiation was that he was the sole candidate outside of Ron Paul to go after his GOP rivals in a race that thus far has been mostly focused on Obama and liberal policies.

The loss of Pawlenty and inclusion of Rick Perry will help focus this race more on Obama as each candidate contrasts themselves with him instead of with each other.

Pawlenty was a good candidate with good credentials coming into this race.  However, after his performance in the last Iowa debate I was surprised that he did as well as he did in the Iowa caucus.  Pawlenty is making the right choice by stepping out of this race, and the tone of the race will be better without him.  The key to winning the 2012 GOP primary is becoming more clear.  Candidates need to contrast themselves with Obama and then win on ideas.  In this stage of the game, going after fellow GOP candidates is not yielding much fruit.

View Tim Pawlenty’s Iowa Straw Poll Speech in its Entirety

Bookmark and Share    Of all the speeches given before the votes were counted at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Tim Palwenty delivered a speech which I can’t find any fault with.  If a speech could be perfect, this one would have been close to it.  In fact there was nothing wrong with.  I found no disagreement with his positions and opinions and found nothing wrong with his excellent message.  I guess the only problem is the messenger.  And I hate to say that, for Tim Pawlenty is a seemingly great guy.  The kind of guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but will do a good job at making sure that no flies got into his tent.
 
But for some reason, even though Pawlenty says the right things, they just don’t resonate as well as they should with him.
 
See the speech for yourself.  I bet you won’t find anything wrong with it, but it still won’t hit you in any significant way.  Maybe his speech was to rehearsed, to the point where it was over-reheased?  Maybe it was too perfect?  I don’t know what it is  but whatever it is, it’s not working for Pawlenty as well as it shoud.

View Thad McCotter’s Entire Speech from the Iowa Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share  Thad McCotter, a virtual unknown in the presidential race, actually gave one of the more substunative speeched of the event, and ironically onbe of the most spirited.
 
McCotter, am understated man, who is a conservative Congressman from Michigan has an almost deadpan style about him, but it is the subtle build up his deep voice that rises to crescendo a commonsense that is worthy of hearing.  Most unique about McCotter on the Straw Poll stump, was his throwback references to communism and the fact that in regards to China, history repeats itself. 
 
Can McCotter win the nomination?  There is about as much as a chance of that happening as there is for President Obama to balance a budget.  But still McCotter is an interesting figure and his conservative voice is worth hearting out. 
 
 
 
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View Rick Santorum’s Entire Speech from the Iowa Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share    Rick Santorum delivered the first and one of the best speeches at the Iowa Straw poll contest.  He focussed on the social conservative issues which helped to elevate his vote among the heavily constituted Iowa Straw poll electorate.  In general Santorum’s speech was nothing special, but in a relative way, it was a good performance worth seeing.
 
 
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View Michele Bachmann’s Entire Speech from the Iowa Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share    Congresswoman Bachmann surely was enthusiastic when she gavce her official speech before the Iowa Straw poll voters in Ames, but it contained little substance at all and essentially ignored that she was a Congresswoman from Minnesota.  The bulk of Bachmann’s Straw Poll Speech was dedicated to calling herself an Iowan.  I have not yet counted how many times she mentioned that or the word Iowa, but in the video of her speech below, you will get the idea.  
 
Oh yeah, and don’t forget “I love you.  I love you all”……………  You’ll see what I mean………………
 
 
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View Herman Cain’s Entire Speech from the Iowa Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share    The speech given Herman Cain  before the last votes at the Iowa Straw Poll ballots were cast, was an enrgetic, poetic, and powerful statement which brought the large crowd in attendance to their feet.
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Predicted Results of Saturday’s 2011 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames

Bookmark and Share   By Steve Deace

*Please note that these predictions are my analysis and not my preference. I will not be endorsing a candidate before the Iowa Straw Poll, if at all, nor will I vote in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday.

These predictions are simply based on the best data I’m privy to.

1. Michele Bachmann (21%)

She is clearly the favorite right now, but she faces a real test in Thursday’s pre-Straw Poll debate hosted by Fox News. Barring journalistic malfeasance, she’s going to be asked about signing the controversial FAMiLY LEADER marriage pledge, as well as her husband working to deliver those ensnared by homosexuality via Christian counseling so that they may live the lives God originally created them to live. How she responds to that questioning could very well determine Saturday’s results. If she has a Tim Pawlenty moment of uncertainty, like her fellow Minnesotan had when invited to confront Mitt Romney on Romneycare during the last New Hampshire debate, then the outcome on Saturday will also be uncertain. On the other hand, if she stands her ground then the mystery isn’t whether or not she’ll win, but by how much. By the way, in case you’re wondering where my predicted finish for Bachmann stacks up with past Iowa Straw Poll winners (keep in mind this year’s field is more crowded than past years):

1987—Pat Robertson 34%

1995—Bob Dole & Phil Gramm 24%

1999— George W. Bush 31%

2007—Mitt Romney 32%

2. Ron Paul (18%)

Paul’s support is pretty much locked into the 15-20% range. He has a devoted following that will show up no matter what, but it’s his ability to expand beyond that base that is in question. Nevertheless, if the weather is poor and/or Bachmann bombs the debate on Thursday he may not have to.

3. Tim Pawlenty (15%)

He just never caught on for various reasons, despite being the person who worked Iowa the hardest and the most. There have already been articles pointing fingers at whom or what is to blame for that, which is never a good omen. I believe he has to win the Straw Poll to justify hanging around given the looming entrance of Rick Perry and perhaps Sarah Palin.

4. Rick Santorum (13%)

He is catching some fire as of late, and is the best chance for a Straw Poll surprise. Although this would be far lower than fellow conservative Catholic Sam Brownback finished in the 2007 Straw Poll when he dropped out afterwards, Santorum can actually make the case he is picking up momentum given how low he’s been rated in polls and therefore deserves to stick around. I know people who are predicting he will finish ahead of Pawlenty. I don’t have quite the guts to call that shot, but I definitely see evidence of him picking up late pockets of support.

5. Herman Cain (9%)

I’ll give him a small bump courtesy of his endorsement from the Fair Tax people, who showed up in force at the Straw Poll four years ago, but other than that there’s little doubt his campaign has been done in Iowa quicker than you can say Christian Fong.

6. Mitt Romney (8%)

Romney’s finish is the toughest for me to predict, because there is still a cache of loyal supporters there despite his avoidance of Iowa. However, Iowans typically don’t reward candidates who do avoid them.

7. Rick Perry (7%)

There will be a subtle yet substantive write-in effort on behalf of the Texas governor/presidential candidate in waiting, we just don’t know yet how substantive.

8. Newt Gingrich (4%)

The former Speaker is planning a complete reboot of his presidential bid in September that he’s promising will be bold. We shall see if it’s a case of too little, too late. For now he’s a non-entity in Ames.

9. Sarah Palin (3%)

I think there will be some write-in votes for the former Alaska governor, but not necessarily as part of an organized effort by her fellows. She’ll make her show of force at the Central Iowa Tea Party rally on September 3rd.

9. Thaddeus McCotter (1%)

I think he’ll get a few votes from people who are either contrarians, or they just want to take advantage of the rare opportunity to vote for someone named Thaddeus.

10. Jon Huntsman (1%)

He’s the champion of the self-loathing Iowa Republican who thinks we don’t deserve to have the Iowa Caucuses if the Arlen Specters of the world aren’t welcome here. Thankfully, that’s barely 1% of the Iowa Straw Poll voting demographic, because the rest of them are too busy either working for or funding Terry Branstad’s lifetime appointment to Terrace Hill to take part.

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The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

Bookmark and ShareThe debt. The deficit. The debt ceiling. Default. Social security checks. Medicare payments. Balanced Budgets. Tax increases. Gang of six. Cut, Cap and Balance. Headlines all in the past week. Headlines that, for the most part, the Republican candidates for President have been able to take a stand on without actually having to take a solid position. That is unless you are Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann, the 2 candidates who are sitting members of the House Of Representatives.

2012 GOP Presidential leader and former MA Governor Mitt Romney has stated that “The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.” “If the president were to do those things, this whole debt issue would disappear.” He has declined to say whether he would support a compromise.

Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty said in Iowa this week, “Eventually you run out of money, but what you do is you buy yourself a bunch of time to have the debate about real reform.” A vague statement but one that allows him to offer an opinion without having to land solidly behind a plan.

Paul and Bachmann however are forced, through their House seats, to vote for or against the actual plans. They are not afforded the luxury to simply make broad statements without taking a position that the other candidates are. Both Paul and Bachmann were also among the nine House Republicans who voted Tuesday night against the ‘cut, cap and balance’ bill that would reduce 2012 spending by more than $100 billion, cap it over the next decade and prohibit more government borrowing until Congress passes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Harry Reid has vowed it will not pass the Senate and the President has vowed to veto it if it does.

Ron Paul said it wouldn’t live up to it’s promises, passing the cuts off for years and Bachmann said it didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

So are candidates that hold seats in Congress at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to use the rhetoric on an issue? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic policy adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 but not aligned with any of the contenders this time around stated, “What they would like to have is the issue and that’s the difference between them and the congressional leaders. They need an issue. The congressional leaders need a result.”

We will see in the coming days and months leading up to the Iowa caucus if the other candidates try to pull the votes of Paul and Bachmann into the fray. While the other candidates can rely on rhetoric and easily take the stance that the polls dictate are popular, sitting members of Congress have to take a solid stand on the bills before them. A disadvantage for sure in a large candidate field with a mere 2 current legislators in it’s ranks.

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“Fair” Game In Iowa

Bookmark and Share    The Iowa State Fair is for presidential contenders, what Christmas is for children. Every politician who dreams of becoming President, quietly envisions, headlines that read “So-and-So Wins Iowa’s First in the Nation Caucus”. Their dream scenario is a smooth vault to the White House that starts with wins in both Iowa and in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary contests. They all know that unless you get your foot in the door with wins in one or both of theses contests, the rest of the primaries and caucuses are going to provide for one long haul on the way to their Party’s nomination and then on to Pennsylvania Avenue.

It is for that reason that with just one Iowa Sate Fair to go before the 2012 Iowa Caucus, attending this year’s fair is a must for those enthusiastic candidates who are just itching to announce their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

This year one candidate who is just dying to scream “I’m your man” couldn’t wait for the Iowa State Fair.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was so anxious that he was standing outside of the fairgrounds waiting for the gates to open.

On the first day of the fair, Pawlenty was there to flip pork chops and hamburgers, play a few games of ring toss, shake hands, and kiss babies. As well as delivering a speech at the boot h of the Iowa State Republican party, Pawlenty did a number of live radio and television interviews.

The anxiousness of the Minnesota Governor’s desire to be at the Iowa State Fair on opening was not missed on his interviewers. One live interview produced the following exchange;

Interviewer: “Let’s get to the politics thing, why do you want to be president ?”

T-Paw: “Well, I didn’t say I did… “

Interv iewer: “Yes ya did, you’re here in Iowa. You’re in Iowa, it’s the first day of the fair. (laughs)”

T-Paw: “In all seriousness I’m going to decide that early next year.”

Let’s put it this way, Palwenty’s running. Otherwise he would be back home governing Minnesota, not complimenting the corn bread being  baked by Iowa corn farmers who  hope to win a blue ribbonfor their recipes  in the corn bread bakeoff.

But Pawlenty certainly is not is not alone.

A recent trip by Newt Gingrich to Iowa’s State Fair makes that his sixth excuse for being in Iowa this year. And with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum buying his ticket to the fair, it is all but assumed that he is building an organization that he expects to propel him into the White House.

So far, many more names aren’t at the fair than are there, but this week Haley Barbour is scheduled to be in Iowa for an event and chances are you can expect him to be stopping by the ol’ fairgrounds. Mitt Romney has yet to make an appearance and so does John Thune, Ron Paul and the 2008 winner of the Iowa Caucus, Mike Huckabee.

People like Huckabee and Romney can forgo the fair this year. They have pretty significant organizations there from the last time around. But others have even more work to do than Romney and Huckabee .

A Recent poll conducted by the Iowa State Republican Party places Huckabee and Romney, once again in first and second place with Huckabee at 22% and Romney at 18%. The surprise third place finisher is Newt Gingrich with 14% and Sarah Palin in a disappointing fourth place with 11%.  Heading up the back of the pack with a relatively substantial showing  is Ron Paul with 5%.

Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum and a few others received tepid support but not enough to register in the poll. Barbour and Santorum on the other hand did not receive any support. But these results should no be discouraging to any of the contenders.

In 2008, Mike Huckabee was a dark horse underdog and he took Iowa like a surprise thunderstorm. Additional encouragement can be found for those who did not make the top 5 in this early Iowa poll, is the fact that more people are undecided than anything else. In fact undecided actually wins this poll with 23%. So the truth is, Iowa is providing all the candidates with a “fair” chance in 2012 but it all starts with a trip to the Iowa State Fair.

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