The Big Story Blog

The Big Story Blog: January 2, 2012 Archive

Monday 1/2/2012
The home stretch

Posted at 6:20 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Hed

Rep. Michele Bachmann is making several stops in Iowa today, where she will do one last round of campaigning before the caucuses tomorrow. It's the homestretch, and, according to the latest polls, Bachmann still has a long road to go if she is to do well tomorrow night.

Iowa: Bachmann's Monday schedule

Posted at 6:25 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

Rep. Michele Bachmann's Monday schedule is relatively sparse compared to last week, when her days were filled with 10 or 11 stops each.

Here's her schedule for today, Jan. 2, 2012

6:00 am CT Interview with CBS's "The Early Show" with guest hosts Bob Schieffer and Norah O'Donnell

6:30 am CT
Interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski

1:00 pm CT
Paula's Restaurant Drop By
Paula's Maid Rite
524 Elm Street
West Des Moines, Iowa

8:00 pm CT
Fox News Channel's "Hannity" with host Sean Hannity

9:00 pm CT
Countdown to Caucus Headquarters Event
Bachmann For President Iowa Headquarters
2775 86th Street
Urbandale, Iowa


Iowa: The latest news

Posted at 8:30 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

Voters have just one more day to decide who they are going to vote for in the Iowa caucuses. As MPR reported last week, many of them will remain undecided until the last minute. The New York Times also took a look at those voters; many feel there is no perfect candidate and that they'll ultimately have to settle.

Or voters may feel there are so many contenders it's hard to choose. Gallup puts this year's caucuses in perspective. According to the polling group, this year's race most closely resembles the 2003 Democratic contest here. The last time the Republican field had so many candidates in the Iowa caucus was 1964.

Read more from Gallup here.

Democratic polling outfit Public Policy Polling has a new survey out this morning as well, showing Ron Paul with 20 percent - a one percentage point lead over Mitt Romney, and two percentage point lead over Rick Santorum.

It's going to be a close race.

Here's a look at other Iowa news.


Iowa: Bachmann vows to press on past Iowa

Posted at 8:35 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

Here's a dispatch from MPR's Mark Zdechlik.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is pledging to continue on past the Iowa caucuses regardless of the outcome.

But political observers say if Bachmann fails to post a strong showing in the Hawkeye State, she could be finished.

Bachmann appeared on two national television shows Monday morning. The only campaign stop on her schedule for the last day before the caucus is a visit to a Des Moines restaurant. She also plans to be at her suburban Des Moines campaign office Monday night at 9:00 for a "Countdown to Caucus Headquarters Event."

After months of aggressive campaigning in Iowa, Bachmann will spend her final pre-caucus hours trying to appeal to Republicans in her birthplace of Waterloo. She is expected to speak at caucuses there Tuesday evening before heading to suburban Des Moines for her caucus night party.

Released over the weekend, a Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers showed Bachmann in last place among the Republicans competing in Iowa. On Saturday Bachmann called reporter questions about whether she would stay in the race regardless of how she finishes in the caucuses "ridiculous."

The Bachmann campaign is hoping newly produced videos, customized to each of Iowa's 99 counties, will help increase turnout for her at Tuesday evening's caucuses. The roughly 90-second videos feature messages the Minnesota congresswoman recorded along the way in each of the counties she visited during the 10-day barnstorm of Iowa she completed last week.

A brief explanation of how the caucuses work and what people interested in participating need to do follows the customized introductions.

"I need your vote on January, 3," says Bachmann starting off the video that was sent to potential supporters in Blackhawk County, Iowa. "Would you please take just a moment and watch this important video because together this is how we will take our country back?"

Bachmann staffers said the congresswoman was spending time over the weekend preparing for the next candidates' debate which takes place on Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire. They also said she will head to South Carolina on Wednesday.

Iowa: Bachmann out with "Iron Lady" ad

Posted at 10:30 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

In recent days, Rep. Michele Bachmann has been likening herself to Britain's conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, telling crowds that she wants to be America's "Iron Lady."

That talking point has ended up in Bachmann's latest ad, too. Here's the latest from MPR's Mark Zdechlik.

Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign has a new 30-second television ad promoting her as a "consistent conservative fighter."

The ad also hammers home that Bachmann, who was born in Waterloo, is a native Iowan.

Bachmann will wrap-up her Iowa caucus campaign tomorrow in Waterloo. Polls show she is in last-place among the field of GOP presidential candidates competing in Iowa.

But Bachmann, at least publicly, Bachmann is dismissing the polls and predicting a caucus "miracle" tomorrow.

Bachmann's campaign says its new ad begins running today on network and cable stations "all across Iowa."

Iowa: Bachmann on Iran

Posted at 9:30 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

How the next president would handle Iran has become a hot topic in the Republican presidential race. On CBS' Early Show, Rep Michele Bachmann talked about how she would handle the country and it's potential nuclear threat.

Via the Associated Press:

WASINGTON--Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says she would put U.S. missiles on alert and consider blockading Iran to let that country know it should not develop nuclear weapons.

The congresswoman from Minnesota says she would deploy Patriot missiles, ballistic missiles and other weapon systems in the U.S. and the Middle East to show Iran that "we will do whatever it takes."

Bachmann is seeking conservative support in Tuesday's Iowa GOP presidential caucuses, where polls show her support has been lagging in the single digit range.

Her comments on CBS' "The Early Show" came as Iran's navy announced it had test-fired a surface-to-surface cruise missile during a drill in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf

Iowa: Perry says Bachmann not viable in other states

Posted at 11:30 AM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

In an interview with Fox News earlier today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum don't have the money or campaign organization to move on to other states.

Indeed, cash may be Bachmann's biggest hurdle going forward. It's unclear if she has enough money to support ads and organizers in South Carolina, where she says she's going next, and Florida.

Here's the latest courtesy of ABC News.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - Texas Gov. Rick Perry views the road beyond Iowa as one working more in his favor than in Michele Bachmann's or Rick Santorum's, saying the two rivals, who are competing for the same conservative evangelical votes, have no national organization to be viable in other primary states.

"I agree that Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann don't have a national organization in place nor the fundraising ability to go forward out of Iowa, and so I'm the only one that actually has that ability," Perry said during an interview on Fox News today, also noting that regardless of the outcome in Tuesday's caucuses, he'll "be going across the country, South Carolina, into Florida, into Nevada, with a national campaign."

Perry also continued his criticism of Santorum in an NBC News interview, slamming him for supporting earmarks and responding to Santorum's spoof of Perry's "oops" moment Sunday, insisting that you can eliminate federal agencies.

"He's part of the problem because you've got a culture there, a person who has been in Washington, D.C., so long, who doesn't understand what the American people," Perry said this morning on the "Today Show." "Does Rick Santorum want Washington to tell the people of Iowa how to educate their children? I don't think so. I can promise you, there are a substantial number of agencies of government that we could do away with and Americans wouldn't miss them at all."

Perry hit back hard against Politico for running a story this weekend based entirely on anonymous sources discussing the dissent within his campaign.

"When an organization that is supposedly legitimate will not name names, that tells me that they're listening to rumor and innuendo. This is a total inside the Beltway story, my campaign's working smoothly," Perry said in the FOX News interview.

During an interview with Politico Sunday, Perry became combative when asked about the dysfunction in his campaign. "You got a name? You got a name? You got a name? If you don't have a name to tell me, this individual said this and I don't take that as a corroborated source," Perry said to Politico's Mike Allen.

"I do take a little offense when you run a story and you can't tell me who is saying something that you're using as a negative story, so you know don't come to me and say respond to this and you're either not willing or I don't have a name."

Iowa: GOP officials worried about Occupy protesters

Posted at 2:00 PM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

Politico writes about Republican officials in Iowa who are worried about Occupy Wall Street protesters disrupting tomorrow's caucuses.

Here's what Edward Isaac-Dovere writes:

Republicans across Iowa are bracing for trouble on Tuesday, concerned that caucus sites will be the next stop for the Occupy protesters who've staged demonstrations and disruptions at election events across the state.

Occupy leaders say they're not planning to interfere with the voting, though they expect actions leading up the vote at candidates' headquarters and afterward at victory parties. But even if 99 percent of the 99 percenters comply, the prospect of scattered protesters inciting confrontations with Republican voters has people from both camps on edge.

Naomi Leinen who is Republican party co-chair for Pottawattamie County, which includes the Council Bluffs area in western Iowa, shared similar concerns with MPR last Tuesday.

"I know some of the Occupy Wall Street people are trying to influence the votes," she said. "They may come and do same day voter registration or switch parties the same day."

Meanwhile, the Des Moines Register reports about 12 protesters affiliated with Occupy the Caucuses, an off-shoot of the Wall Street movement, being arrested at a downtown Des Moines hotel.

About two dozen demonstrators, some with dollars bills taping their mouths shut, laid down on the lobby floor to protest the role of corporate money in politics, and the signing on Saturday of the National Defense Authorization Act into law by President Barack Obama. In all, about 50 protesters filled the hotel lobby.

The story continues:

The protest, which organizers called a "die-in," began shortly after 1 p.m. Police started making arrests about 30 minutes later, but not before some arriving guests and a Jimmy Johns delivery person had to step around the mass of people lying on the floor. Protesters were issued citations and released, police said.

The protesters said they came to meet with Democratic National Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The tried twice on Sunday to meet with her at the hotel, where Democrats have set up a rapid-response communications center dubbed the "war room."

Iowa: Bachmann stops traffic, campaigns in West Des Moines

Posted at 2:51 PM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- During a campaign stop that briefly brought traffic in West Des Moines to a stand-still, Rep. Michele Bachmann said her own brush with poverty makes her the best person to be the Republican presidential nominee.

"I was born into a middle class family here in Iowa, but we went literally to below poverty overnight," after her parents divorced, Bachmann said. "It's not a hard luck story, it's what a lot of Americans go through."

"But it also taught me something very important: the value of hard work and the work ethic, and also what it takes to succeed," Bachmann said.

Indeed, Bachmann has been working very hard to win the hearts of Iowa's Republican voters. She's toured Iowa's 99 counties, engaging in endless hours of one of the time-tested strategies here in Iowa: retail politics. Yet she continues to place in the bottom of the polls.

Initially, Bachmann was only meant to visit Paula's Maid Rite on Elm Street in West Des Moines.

But the tiny space became so quickly packed with voters and reporters, that her campaign arranged to have Bachmann swing by a pet supply store, a flower shop, and a market that sells only goods from Iowa.

It was arguably one of the largest events Bachmann has attended since she started her last campaign push through Iowa in the lead-up to tomorrow's caucuses. The crowd included members of the media from Japan and Sweden, as well as a group of 22 high school students from the Blake School in Minneapolis who are in town to help the candidates with get out the vote activities.

In a press conference held outside her campaign bus, Bachmann discounted the latest polls, saying that she's optimistic about tomorrow night given what she's seen during her tour around Iowa.

"It was like a light switch was flipped on after the Iowa debate," she said referring to the last gathering of the candidates on one stage before the holidays. "We saw people, literally thousands of people, make their decision on the spot."

Her supporters, she said, are her best advocates. Bachmann plans to win votes between today and tomorrow by relying on them to talk to their neighbors and friends about why they should vote for her.

Bachmann said she has every intention of continuing on to primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

She also criticized all of her opponents - Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for their support of a health insurance mandate, Ron Paul for espousing foreign policy that she considers isolationist, Rick Santorum for supporting earmarks, and Rick Perry for allowing children of those in the United States illegally to get tuition breaks.

Iowa: What we know with one day to go

Posted at 4:36 PM on January 2, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Iowa

Tomorrow Iowa Republicans will decide who will they want to be their presidential nominee.

There's still no telling who will be the winner. But here's one thing we can count on: it will be mostly sunny with a high of 41 degrees. That's good news for the candidates because it likely means stronger turn out.

Iron Lady. Bachmann has a new ad out that draws on her Iowa roots, emphasizes her efforts fighting Barack Obama's new health care law and draws on her desire to be America's Margaret Thatcher.

Bachmann has done little advertising here since the summer; this is the only ad she has run on television this week.

Occupy Preoccupation. GOP leaders here are concerned that Occupy Wall Street movement will disrupt caucuses tomorrow, and are preparing for protests. Meanwhile, 12 protesters were arrested at a downtown Des Moines hotel for lying down in the building's lobby.

Bachmann draws media, voter crowds. The media hordes were out in full-force at a Bachmann event today in West Des Moines, along with a sizeable number of voters. There, she visited local businesses, and talked about her own family's battle with poverty; the experience taught her to work hard, she said.

Goin' to Carolina. Bachmann says she's pressing on to South Carolina and will participate in the New Hampshire caucuses, despite how she does Iowa. Next stop, the Palmetto State.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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