The Big Story Blog

The Big Story Blog: January 4, 2012 Archive

Iowa: County by county results

Posted at 6:03 AM on January 4, 2012 by Michael Olson
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

Place your cursor over a county and see data to the right.

Iowa: Photos from the finish

Posted at 6:15 AM on January 4, 2012 by Michael Olson
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

20120104_iowaromney_53.jpeg
Des Moines, IA, United States -- Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks as his wife Ann Romney and their sons (L-R) Josh, Matt, Craig and Tagg look on at the Hotel Fort Des Moines on the night of the Iowa Caucuses January 3, 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa. Romney beat a surging former Sen. Rick Santorum by only eight votes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

More: Photos from the Iowa caucuses: Winners & losers

Iowa: Bachmann cancels trip to South Carolina

Posted at 7:40 AM on January 4, 2012 by Michael Olson
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

USA Today: "Michele Bachmann has canceled her campaign appearances today, and called a late morning news conference.The announcement will no doubt stoke speculation that Bachmann will pull out of the race after her sixth place finish in the Iowa caucuses."

Iowa: After Iowa

Posted at 7:41 AM on January 4, 2012 by Michael Olson
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

Bachmann cancels S.C.; schedules news conference
USA Today: "Michele Bachmann has canceled her campaign appearances today, and called a late morning news conference. The announcement will no doubt stoke speculation that Bachmann will pull out of the race after her sixth place finish in the Iowa caucuses."

New life for Santorum

NPR: "Rick Santorum's stunning finish in Iowa's Republican presidential caucuses Tuesday breathed life into his dogged campaign and had his New Hampshire supporters dreaming of a top-three spot for him in next week's Granite State primary. But the path to a good finish in New Hampshire is not an easy one. Santorum's evangelical bona fides are bound to matter much less than in Iowa. And Mitt Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, has consistently held wide leads in preference polls."

Romney's 'enthusiasm problem'

Politico: "Romney and his backers spent millions in combined campaign and PAC ad spending, but the Massachusetts governor scored only about a quarter of the caucus vote, giving Team Obama a first chance to analyze a possible opponent's weaknesses in the first live-fire political drill of the 2012 campaign."

A frustrated Gingrich looks past Iowa and lashes back at Romney
New York Times: "With his candidacy battered by negative campaign ads and a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is adjusting his strategy to rescue his ailing campaign, aggressively swatting back at Mitt Romney, whose supporters have painted him into the box of a Washington influence-peddler."

Maybe it's finally time to read those Ron Paul newsletters
NBC News: "Ron Paul's history of publishing racist, homophobic and conspiratorial newsletters didn't seem to hurt him in the Iowa caucuses, where he surged from the back of the polls to finish in the top three among Republican candidates for president."

Career-first defeat means it's time for Perry to reassess campaign

Austin American Statesman: "Oops, perhaps predictably, can beget ouch, a lesson Rick Perry learned the hard way Tuesday as he suffered a stinging, largely self-inflicted defeat that served as a rude awakening from his White House dream."

Michele Bachmann still a lock for reelection -- if she runs
Politico: "Michele Bachmann's disastrous sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night put her presidential campaign on death watch, but there's still one race where she leads the pack: the race for her House seat."

Iowa: LIVE CHAT Reactions to the Iowa caucus

Posted at 8:45 AM on January 4, 2012 by Michael Olson
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

A Midmorning live chat for January 4, 2012

Iowa LIVE: Bachmann press conference

Posted at 9:10 AM on January 4, 2012 by Jon Gordon
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

Michele Bachmann, whose poor finish in Iowa led her to cancel a trip to South Carolina, has scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference from Des Moines. Follow live updates here.

Iowa: Bachmann ends White House bid

Posted at 10:51 AM on January 4, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

Here's the complete story on Michele Bachmann ending her presidential campaign, from MPR News reporters Mark Zdechlik, Catharine Richert, Elizabeth Dunbar.

Des Moines, Iowa -- Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday morning that she is suspending her bid for the White House.

"I have decided to stand aside," she said at a packed news conference Wednesday morning in West Des Moines, Iowa, at the Marriott Hotel. "Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice."

In the same room the night before, Bachmann had been introduced as the next president of the United States.

Bachmann finished last in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday among the GOP presidential candidates who had campaigned there.

Campaign manager Keith Nahigan said he and Bachmann discussed multiple options after last night's disappointing finish, including suspending the campaign. But he said he hadn't spoken to Bachmann Wednesday morning and didn't know what she decided before her morning announcement.

She had been predicting a caucus "miracle," saying Iowans would "come home" to her. But the reality of the caucus returns showed no such miracle. Bachmann garnered just 5 percent of the vote statewide and didn't win a single county.

After the caucus, analysts predicted it would be tough for Bachmann to do any better in the New Hampshire or South Carolina primaries.

"She spent in inordinate amount of time in Iowa. At one time she was the front-runner. She won the Iowa Straw Poll back in August. But that was August. In January she ran basically dead-last," said Peter Brown, Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The notion that the voters of New Hampshire or South Carolina or Florida will feel much differently is not one likely to occur."

As news reports announced Bachmann would suspend her campaign, other analysts said they weren't surprised.

"It seemed to me to be pretty much inevitable," Steven Shier, a political science professor at Carleton College, told MPR's Midmorning.

Shier said Bachmann's disappointing finish in Iowa would have made it difficult for her to raise the money needed to move forward. "[Candidates] leave the race because they don't have the money to continue, and that is certainly Michele Bachmann's situation," he said.

Bachmann has not said whether she will run for reelection in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.

Iowa: Bachmann found few votes beyond straw poll

Posted at 11:56 AM on January 4, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics

Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign ended officially this morning after getting only 6,073 votes in the Iowa caucuses, earning only five percent of the vote and a distant sixth place.

What's remarkable is that when she won the Ames Straw Poll in August, she won 4,823 votes. So in the span of five months, she was able to add only 1,250 votes.

Iowa: Race is officially on, Obama campaign chief says

Posted at 12:16 PM on January 4, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

President Barack Obama came in for waves of criticism during the Iowa caucuses, including a scathing attack this morning from Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann as she withdrew from the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

But now that Iowa's decided, Obama campaign staffers are starting to hit back. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina this morning writes:

The Republican candidates spent in some cases more than a year--in Mitt Romney's case seven years--campaigning in Iowa to be the next president.

But yesterday, GOP voters there couldn't decisively get behind anyone.

Who exactly leads the Republican race going forward isn't clear, but we do know two things:

1) The extremist Tea Party agenda won a clear victory. No matter who the Republicans nominate, we'll be running against someone who has embraced that agenda in order to win--vowing to let Wall Street write its own rules, end Medicare as we know it, roll back gay rights, leave the troops in Iraq indefinitely, restrict a woman's right to choose, and gut Social Security to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.

2) We'll be facing an onslaught of unprecedented spending from outside groups funded by corporations and anonymous donors. In Iowa alone, so-called "super PACs" spent $12.9 million on almost exclusively negative ads. These groups will turn their fire even more directly on us in the weeks ahead to prove that their candidate is the most anti-Obama.

This race is officially on--and if we want to win, the only way is to out-organize them on the ground.

Sign up to volunteer your time now, and one of our organizers in your community will give you a call by the end of next week to talk about how you can help.

Many observers think Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. If he is, we will be prepared. But it's curious that no one can really explain how, when or why the 70-plus percent of Republicans saying in polls and in Iowa that Mitt Romney's not their candidate will suddenly come around.

So the path ahead for Romney--or whichever of the Republican candidates is going to emerge from this process--is sadly and starkly very clear: to run even further to the extreme right, and make even more dangerous promises that threaten not only the progress we've made but the fundamental fabric of American society.

Watching the circus on TV, it's tempting to think it's almost funny--but this is not a joke.

We've got to be ready.

What you decide to do next will determine which kind of politics wins this election--so get involved today.

Iowa: Will Bachmann seek re-election in Minnesota?

Posted at 1:22 PM on January 4, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

With Michele Bachmann's race for president officially over, the next question is: Will she seek re-election to her Minnesota House seat? It's not clear.

Bachmann said during the summer that she would not run for re-election to her congressional seat while campaigning for the White House. Now she has until June 5 -- the the last day to file for a Minnesota general election where a primary is possible.

It's also not clear what her district will look like. Congressional district boundaries are being redrawn for the November elections. It's possible Bachmann and DFL Rep. Betty McCollum may find themselves fighting it out in a new, remade district.

MPR News reporter Tom Scheck wrote recently that McCollum was taking the possibility of a Bachmann fight seriously.

The DFL Party proposed a map that would pair McCollum and Bachmann in the same district. McCollum, who lives in St. Paul, currently represents a heavily Democratic district. Bachmann, from Stillwater, represents the GOP leaning 6th District.

It isn't certain whether McCollum will be paired with Bachmann. A special redistricting panel will release its set of maps on Feb. 21 if Gov. Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature can't agree before then. The GOP plan doesn't pair any incumbents.

So that Feb. 21 meeting could be key to Bachmann's future plans.

One more wild card: As Bachmann this morning withdrew from the presidential campaign and speculation began that she may seek re-election in Minnesota, Scheck tweeted:

One problem for Bachmann if she makes a reelection run. Those who maxed out to her prez campaign can't give to her Congressional campaign.
Jan 04 via EchofonFavoriteRetweetReply

Iowa: Three options ahead for Bachmann

Posted at 2:04 PM on January 4, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

Here's MPR News political reporter Tom Scheck's take on what Michele Bachmann may do next now that she is out of the presidential race.

She could run for the U.S. Senate.

Republicans would love to see Bachman make a run against DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, especially since a top tier GOP candidate hasn't emerged yet. A major challenge for Bachmann is to shift gears from being an "Iowan" running for president to a Minnesotan running for the U.S. Senate. Polling also suggests that Bachmann would have a lot of ground to make up if she challenges Klobuchar.

She could run for re-election.

Bachmann is extremely popular among Republican activists and can raise money from small donors. But again her claim to being an Iowan could come back to hurt her. There's no doubt those comments will be put in attack ads if she makes another run for Congress.

She also raised and spent a lot of money on the race for the White House , and it isn't clear how much she has left. If she has an empty campaign account, Bachmann will have to start from scratch and can't ask major donors to max out to her campaign if they already wrote large dollar checks to her presidential campaign.

Another deterrent is Bachmann is on the outs with GOP leadership in the House. She lost a bid for a leadership position last year and didn't please Republican leaders when she stepped on the GOP response to last year's State of the Union.

She could capitalize on her star power.

Bachmann has been a dynamic speaker who energizes many Republicans and angers many Democrats. She's also unpredictable. All of those factors make her a prime catch for a national TV or radio host. She could also write another book. But, as MPR's Brett Neely reported earlier this month, Bachmann's book sales have not been brisk.

With no Iowa miracle, Bachmann ends White House bid

Posted at 2:31 PM on January 4, 2012 by Jon Gordon

By Catharine Richert, Mark Zdechlik and Elizabeth Dunbar


Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday morning that she is suspending her bid for the White House.

"I have decided to stand aside," she said at a packed news conference Wednesday morning in West Des Moines, Iowa, at the Marriott Hotel. "Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice."

In the same room the night before, Bachmann had been introduced as the next president of the United States.

Bachmann finished last in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday among the GOP presidential candidates who had campaigned there.

bach.jpg
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) hugs supporters of her campaign after a news conference in which she officially ended her campaign for Republican presidential candidate on January 4, 2012 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Bachmann ended her campaign after poor results in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

She had been predicting a caucus "miracle," saying Iowans would "come home" to her. But the reality of the caucus returns showed no such miracle. Bachmann garnered just 5 percent of the vote statewide and didn't win a single county.

During her speech at the news conference, Bachmann said the health care reform law backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats had moved her to seek the presidency. She said Republicans and the country now must rally around the person who can successfully defeat Obama and his health care reform law.

"It must be stopped. Its repeal is more than just a cliché for me. Obamacare violates our fundamental liberties as Americans," she said. "I'll continue to be a strong voice, I'll continue to stand and fight."

After the caucus, analysts predicted it would be tough for Bachmann to do any better in the New Hampshire or South Carolina primaries.

"She spent in inordinate amount of time in Iowa. At one time she was the front-runner. She won the Iowa Straw Poll back in August. But that was August. In January she ran basically dead-last," said Peter Brown, Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The notion that the voters of New Hampshire or South Carolina or Florida will feel much differently is not one likely to occur."

NO REGRETS

Bachmann thanked her staff Wednesday and said she was proud of her contributions to the race.

"I didn't tell you what the polls said you wanted to hear," she said. "I have no regrets, none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles."

As news of Bachmann's decision began to filter out, analysts said they weren't surprised at her decision.

"It seemed to me to be pretty much inevitable," Steven Shier, a political science professor at Carleton College, told MPR's Midmorning.

"[Candidates] leave the race because they don't have the money to continue, and that is certainly Michele Bachmann's situation," he said.

Bachmann has not said whether she will run for reelection in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.

"I look forward to the next chapter in God's plan," she said. "He has always had something greater around the corner."

NO QUESTIONS

Bachmann didn't take any questions as she left her press conference. But as she boarded her campaign bus, she turned to the swarm of press and cameras.

"Thank you, everyone, thank you. It's been a wonderful ride."

Her spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, said that discussions about dropping out of the race began Tuesday night, after Bachmann secured only 5 percent of the caucus vote. She discussed the idea with family, her close friend Barb Meyers, and a few staff members, including Stewart.

But Stewart said she didn't know of Bachmann's final decision until Wednesday morning, when she was woken up with the news.

"She prayed about it and thought about it all night long," Stewart said. "This morning it was clear to her that it was the right step to take."

Money was not a factor in Bachmann's decision, Stewart said. The team was in "perfect shape" financially to move on to South Carolina, and will report no debts in its next finance report.

Ultimately, Bachmann made her decision based on what the voters wanted, not what others, including a religious leader who last week asked Bachmann to merge with another candidate, wanted, Stewart said.

"As she's done all along, from when she first launched this, she listens to the people," Stewart said. "And last night the people spoke and clearly she saw that they coalesced around the other candidates and she didn't have it in her heart to continue."

Bachmann kept her announcement so close that campaign staffers in South Carolina, who were preparing to host Bachman through Friday, only learned their candidate was quitting the race when they read on Twitter she had canceled her flight and events there.

Stewart shrugged off questions about how Bachmann ran her campaign, making a veiled comment about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement that he would enter the race on the same day Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll - arguably the high point of her candidacy.

"She doesn't see where she made any mistakes," Stewart said. "Clearly when other candidates got in the race, it took away some of her support. We're all very proud of what she did."

As for an endorsement, Stewart said Bachmann hasn't made any decisions.

"She called all the other candidates last night just to congratulate them," she said. "They're all good friends, they get along great."

It's also unclear whether Bachmann will run again for her seat representing in the 6th Congressional District of Minnesota.

"We haven't discussed that," said Stewart. "She is not certain on that."

Bachmann mum on next steps after failed presidential bid

Posted at 4:13 PM on January 4, 2012 by Jon Gordon
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

By Mark Zdechlik, MPR News

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann on Wednesday pledged not to disappear from the nation's political battlegrounds following her unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

But Bachmann, who ended her presidential campaign after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses, said nothing about her plans now that she is out of the race. Instead, she vowed to continue to fight against President Obama and the federal health care law passed by Congress.

"The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside," Bachmann said Wednesday morning in a suburban Des Moines hotel ballroom. "I believe that if we are going to repeal ObamaCare, turn our country around and take back our country, we must do so united."

Bachmann finished with 5 percent of the vote, last among the six Republican candidates competing in the Iowa caucuses. Despite her disappointing finish, she has political options, including a bid for re-election to her 6th District seat, a challenge to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and a run for governor.

bachmannblog2.jpg
WEST DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 04: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) speaks during a news conference after ending her campaign for Republican presidential candidate on January 4, 2012 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Bachmann ended her campaign after poor results in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

In ending her campaign, Bachmann sharply criticized the president, as she has for months on the campaign trail and prior to that as a member of Congress. Always a popular guest on conservative radio and cable television shows, Bachmann promised not to fade into the background.

"Make no mistake, I will continue to be a strong voice," she said. "I will continue to stand and fight for the country and for the American people."

Bachmann entered the race nearly seven months ago with a surprise announcement during the first major GOP debate. Almost immediately she rose to the top of polls, both in Iowa and nationally. In August she won the first contest of the race, the non-binding Ames Straw Poll. Her victory effectively knocked a fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, out of the race.

But on the day of that victory, Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his campaign. Bachmann's poll numbers began to drop and never again came close to her early summer surge. Many of the other candidates in the race, including Perry, had similar short-lived leads in the polls.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said even though Bachmann's campaign was unsuccessful, in some ways she beat expectations.

"Certainly she wasn't seen as the equivalent of Tim Pawlenty and yet she's knocked Pawlenty out of the race," Sabato said. "That may be her accomplishment for the 2012 presidential campaign."

More than once during her campaign Bachmann drew criticism for misstatements. On her first trip to New Hampshire she erroneously stated that the first shots of the revolutionary war were fired there, rather than in Massachusetts. She said her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa, was also the birth place of movie star John Wayne, who was born in another Iowa town. The serial killer John Wayne Gacy once lived in Waterloo.

After one debate Bachmann went too far with criticism of Perry, saying vaccines had been linked to mental retardation, a claim medical experts debunked.

The gaffes were damaging.

Former Minnesota Republican Party chairman and Bachmann chief of staff Ron Carey spoke out against Bachmann's presidential run, saying she wasn't ready for the office.

But now Carey says he thinks Bachmann could run for president again and build on a first effort that boosted her stature.

"I would anticipate that in 2016 she could be right back at it again but with more seasoning," Carey said. "You see Mitt Romney having a lot of built in advantages this cycle because of the name ID he created in 2008. So I think at the least, Michele's run 2012 will set her up to be a potential candidate in 2016, 2020."

Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier disagrees. He said Bachmann's time on the national stage has come and gone.

"I think Michele Bachmann sort of disappears as a major figure in American Republican national politics," Schier said. "She had a big opportunity in Iowa. She was not able to take advantage of it and so she'll probably end up speaking at the national convention but all of her practical political ambitions regarding election, really come back to Minnesota again."

Former Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman endorsed Mitt Romney in the presidential race, but he said Bachmann's political future in Minnesota is bright.

"I don't know if anybody could beat Rep. Bachmann in a primary if she would choose to run for a statewide office," Coleman said. "I would not look forward to running in a primary against Michele Bachmann."

A statewide general election would be different from a statewide Republican primary, however, and Democrats contend Bachmann could not win across Minnesota.

State DFL Party chairman Ken Martin said Bachmann's run for president has done permanent damage to her future if she tries to run statewide -- or seeks re-election to Congress.

"In this instance you have a candidate who's just completely ignored her constituents to run for president, and you know, is it a double standard? Some of the others are doing the same thing, but we're here talking about Michele Bachmann," Martin said. "At the end of the day she's put her presidential ambitions ahead of the people she's paid to serve and to me that's going to come home to roost when she decides to run for reelection, not only next year but in the future."

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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