Tales from the Trail

Romney sons stump for their “extraordinarily cheap” father in Iowa


Tagg Romney calls voters from New Hampshire campaign headquarters, December 29, 2011.

By Eric Johnson

Undecided Iowa voters wondering just how Mitt Romney managed to salvage the cash-strapped and fraud-wracked Olympic games in 2002 and leave it with a rainy-day fund of roughly $100 million, should ask his son, Tagg.

“My dad is extraordinarily cheap,” said Tagg, 41, who stumped for his dad at a boisterous “Rock the Caucus” event at a high school outside of Des Moines.

The elder Romney was not at the event, also attended by Not-Mitt candidates Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, whose remarks were best received by the caucus-eligible high schoolers. The trio are competing for the top three spots in tonight’s voting contest.

Also there was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who is skating on thin ice after several setbacks and limited resources.

Mitt Romney says Obama breaks vows, just like Kim Kardashian

President Barack Obama and reality television celebrity Kim Kardashian have something in common, according to Mitt Romney – they don’t know how to keep a promise.

“I’ve been looking at some video clips on YouTube of President Obama, then-candidate Obama, going through Iowa, making promises,” Romney said during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Sunday.

“I think the gap between his promises and his performance is the largest I’ve seen, well, since the Kardashian wedding and the promise of until death do we part,” said the Republican presidential candidate.

New ad compares Bachmann to Thatcher

Rep. Michele Bachmann is out with a new ad comparing herself to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. While a photo of Thatcher and the text “America’s Iron Lady” flash over an image of Bachmann, a narrator says:

Born and raised in Iowa, only one candidate has been a consistent conservative fighter who fought Obamacare, who fought increasing our debt ceiling – even as other Republicans were cutting deals with Obama.

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Bachmann, who now represents a Minnesota congressional district, has spent a lot of time touting her Iowa birthplace ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus. Perhaps most famously, she mistakenly claimed that she and actor John Wayne shared the same hometown — when in fact it was serial killer and rapist John Wayne Gacy who grew up in Bachmann’s birthplace of Waterloo.

Ignoring polls, Santorum says he’s best GOP chance to beat Obama

You have to give him points for chutzpah. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has spent most of the GOP primary positioning himself as the candidate of the GOP’s conservative evangelical wing. With polls showing him running as high as third in Iowa, Santorum is out with a new ad in New Hampshire and Iowa making the case that he can win swing voters and is the Republicans’ best bet to win the general election.

Here’s the narrative:

Who has the best chance to beat Obama? Rick Santorum. A full spectrum conservative, Rick Santorum is rock solid on values issues. A favorite of the tea party for fighting corruption and taxpayer abuse. More foreign policy credentials than any candidate. And Rick’s ‘Made in the USA’ jobs plan will make America an economic superpower again. Rick Santorum, a trusted conservative who gives us the best chance to take back America.

Santorum has spent most of the campaign so far back in the pack pollsters have rarely surveyed him in head-to-head match-ups with the president. In fact there have been just three polls since July measuring how Santorum would fair against Obama. All three are by the Republican firm Rasmussen Reports and all three show Obama ahead by 10 points or more. Overall, polling has generally shown that Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr. and Ron Paul would all fare better against Obama in a head-to-head match-up.

Perry attacks more conservative rivals, ignores Romney

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s latest ads don’t even bother attacking Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney. With polls showing him in fifth place among Republicans in Iowa and seventh in New Hampshire, Perry’s aim is now to emerge as one of the top two conservative options to Romney.

To get there, he needs to knock off some of the other candidates polling immediately in front of him — which is why his latest TV ad in Iowa attacks Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, but doesn’t mention Romney.

“The fox guarding the hen house is like asking a congressman to fix Washington,” the ad’s narrator says. “Bad idea. Their years in Congress left us with debt and bailouts.”

Romney unveils happy ad for TV, goes negative on the web

Mitt Romney’s campaign is out with a new, upbeat television ad in Iowa extolling “the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity.” The video weaves together farm imagery and a soaring voice-over by Romney, who says that “the principles that made this nation a great and powerful leader in the world have not lost their meaning”:

“When generations of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, one thing they knew beyond any doubt, and that is they were coming to a place where anything was possible. That in America, their children would have a better life”

Meanwhile, his campaign issued a new web video targeting President Obama that coincided with Romney’s visit to Davenport, Iowa, yesterday, four years after Obama visited the Mississippi River city as a candidate. “It is time for this pessimistic president to step aside and let American optimism that built this greatest nation on earth, build a greater future for our children,” Romney says in the video.

“I am a serious candidate,” Michele Bachmann says


Bachmann answers questions in front of her bus before the start of her 99 county tour of Iowa in Sioux City, Iowa, December 16, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

SIOUX CITY – Michele Bachmann wants some respect, especially from Newt Gingrich.

For two days in a row the sole woman in the Republican presidential campaign has demanded that she be respected as a serious candidate for president.

Gingrich faces down protests at brain science event

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich defended himself against attacks from his rivals on Wednesday when he ran into a sustained protest at what was supposed to be a low-key event about the human brain.

Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is trying to hang on to a lead in Iowa to score a victory in the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, the first U.S. nominating contest in the Republican race to choose a 2012 presidential candidate.

But to do it he will have to overcome sustained negative ads and daily attacks from his rivals, such as a comment Mitt Romney made to The New York Times on Wednesday calling him “zany.”

from Political Theater:

Perry’s latest ad hypes his ‘momentum’

A month ago, after a series of poor debate performances that culminated in his infamous "oops" gaffe, Rick Perry was on the defensive. “If we’re electing a ‘debater-in-chief,’ don’t elect me,” he told Megyn Kelly on America Live on Nov. 10.

Today, by contrast, in his second new ad of the day, Perry -- who trails Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich in Iowa -- is celebrating last Saturday's ABC News/Yahoo debate in Des Moines.

In the nearly two-minute-long video, titled 'Momentum,' Perry weaves together favorable reviews from observers including Chris Cillizza, Larry Sabato, RedState.org, and Tim Albrecht with miscellaneous Iowa-esque imagery and clips of Perry speaking at the debate.

No jump start for Perry campaign in New Hampshire

The wheels on Rick Perry’s bus will go round and round Iowa, where he’ll make 49 stops between now and the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucus, his campaign announced last night.

Missing from his schedule are any stops in New Hampshire or South Carolina — the two states Perry visited in August to announce his run — which will vote on Jan. 10 and Jan. 21, respectively.

The one-time Republican frontrunner had invested substantial time in both states, making 25 campaign appearances in 11 days in New Hampshire and 21 stops over nine days in South Carolina since announcing his bid, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.