The Big Story Blog

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.

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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