Archive for January, 2012

Bachmann quits race, says she’ll fight for issues



Michele Bachmann is quitting the Republican presidential campaign, saying she’s “decided to stand aside” in the wake of her sixth place finish in the Iowa precinct caucuses.

Speaking at a news conference in Des Moines, Bachmann said she had “no regrets” whatsoever and said she ran her race with integrity and will continue to fight for the causes she emphasized on the campaign trail.

It has been a long, deep slide for the Minnesota congresswoman, who enjoyed a high point in her campaign when she won a Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa several months ago.

In her statement, Bachmann referred repeatedly to “Obamacare” and said the Republican Party must not miss a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to repeal both the sweeping health care law under Obama’s watch and the financial regulation law known as Dodd-Frank.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press, All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Perry tweets, `Here we come South Carolina’



Photo courtesy Twitter.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry is staying in the presidential race despite a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

He’s written on his official Twitter account that the “the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State. … Here we come South Carolina!!!”

He’s attached a photo of himself jogging near a lake, wearing a Texas A&M running shorts and showing a thumbs-up.

The South Carolina primary is Jan. 21. New Hampshire’s is next Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press, All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Austinites gather to watch Paul’s strong 3rd place finish



GOP presidential candidate and Texan Ron Paul came in a close third in the Iowa caucus Tuesday night with 21 percent of the vote.

Paul’s grassroots support across Iowa echoed back home in Texas, and despite critics who claim Paul isn’t electable, his supporters in Austin say he’s on the way to victory.

"We will go on. We will raise the money. I have no doubt about the volunteers. They’re going to be there," Paul said.

He couldn’t quite capture a first-place finish at Tuesday’s Iowa caucus, but Paul’s supporters came out strong enough to see him finish a solid third. Paul said his finish is a strong message to the status quo.

"Too often, those who preach limited government and small government, they forget, that invasion of your privacy is big government,” Paul said. “We have to emphasize protecting your personal rights and your economic rights, are what the government’s supposed to do. They’re not supposed to run our lives or spend our money."

In Texas, Paul’s support was no different. A packed house of Paul backers gathered in Central Austin to watch what happened in Iowa.

"I came out here because I support Ron Paul and I want him to do well in this caucus. I’ve been following Ron Paul since the 1970s and have always liked his small government, freedom-oriented views," Paul supporter Jerri Lynn Ward said.

Akash Sharma said he believes so strongly in Paul for president that he devoted his New Year’s plans to helping out the cause.

"I had a free ticket on American Airlines anywhere, and I was thinking what am I going to do New Years Eve? I thought I’d do something productive and find the grassroots campaign office for Ron Paul in Cedar Rapids. I called them up and asked if they needed volunteers and they said sure," Sharma said.

Even as critics continue to say Paul’s not electable, his supporters keep showing up and say don’t count him out too quickly.

“Their first tactic seemed to have been to ignore him, thinking he would go away and he kept building up," supporter Lynn Foster said.

"I would say we’re still ready to go and not going to give up, still going for Ron Paul 2012," supporter Matt Wood said.

Paul’s next stop will be New Hampshire. His campaign is banking on its organized volunteers already in place in the state, some of whom were along for the ride four years ago in his previous bid for president.

Perry to reassess campaign after placing 5th in Iowa caucus



YNN’s Alana Rocha filed the above video report from Des Moines.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a crowd of his supporters Tuesday night that he plans to return to Texas to assess the viability of his campaign.

After a bumpy road to the Iowa caucus, the governor placed fifth in the running.

“With the voters’ decision tonight I’ve decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight’s caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race,” Perry said. “I believe that this is the greatest nation on the face of the earth."

A Perry official confirmed members of Perry’s campaign had plane tickets back to Texas Wednesday.

"I wasn’t expecting to hear that," Perry supporter Rick Morales said. "You know the American people, especially here in Iowa they spoke today and we’ll see where we go from here."

Earlier in the evening, Perry was trying to shift focus to the upcoming South Carolina primary. He planned to skip next week’s New Hampshire primary in favor of spending more time in South Carolina for their caucus scheduled Jan. 21.

"I think it’s very informed and intelligent to go back and ask yourself, ‘Where do I go from here? What do I ask of my supporters?’" Perry supporter Don Ward said.

More than 500 supporters spent their own money to travel from around the country to caucus for Perry Tuesday. Despite his poor finish, they say they’ll be with him no matter his decision.

"It could be good. He just said he’s going to go home and think about it. That doesn’t mean it’s the end," Perry supporter Susan Hackney said. "He knows what he’s doing, and you know if he wants to continue moving forward, we’re with him. If not, then we’re with him anyway."

Fellow GOP candidates Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney landed in a tug-of-war for the top spot, both receiving 25 percent of the vote. At the end of the night, Romney beat out Santorum by eight votes.

In third came Rep. Ron Paul, who said his finish is a strong message to the status quo.

"Too often, those who preach limited government and small government, they forget,
that invasion of your privacy is big government,” Paul said. “We have to emphasize protecting your personal rights and your economic rights, are what the government’s supposed to do. They’re not supposed to run our lives or spend our money."

Rep. Paul was followed by Newt Gringrich, who spoke highly of Santorum in his speech to supporters.

Michele Bachmann placed sixth.

Several other GOP candidates have already indicated they’ll skip New Hampshire to focus on South Carolina.



Watch the governor’s full speech the video above.

How Iowa caucus became important in road to White House



The Iowa caucus is the first major event of any presidential election year. It’s one that has taken on immense importance, even if just 120,000 people participated in the Republican caucuses four years ago.

Overhyped or not, the winner in Iowa often goes on to win the party’s nomination.

The list of winners includes Democrat John Kerry in 2004, the year frontrunner Howard Dean finished a disappointing third place, unleashed a scream and never recovered.

President Barack Obama notched a critical win over Hillary Clinton in Iowa four years ago.
There have also been important exceptions.

The last Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, finished fourth in Iowa, losing out to Mike Huckabee. Two months later, Huckabee was out of the race.

In 1992, Iowa senator Tom Harkin won convincingly in his home state, while eventual winner Bill Clinton finished fourth with less than 3 percent of the vote.

In 1988, the victors in Iowa were Republican Bob Dole and Democrat Dick Gephardt, but it was the third-place finishers, George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis, who would make it onto their parties’ tickets.

Iowa was not always so important. It started in 1972 when Iowa’s Democratic caucuses were scheduled ahead of the New Hampshire primary for the first time and George McGovern’s unexpectedly strong showing help catapult him to the Democratic nomination.

President Richard Nixon went on to win 49 states in a landslide re-election.

But seeing Iowa’s value, little-known Jimmy Carter campaigned heavily there in 1976. A
strong showing also propelled him to the Democratic nomination and the presidency, and the caucuses have been only growing in importance ever since.

Tuesday night, the first votes will be cast in the Republican Presidential race.

YNN has a political team in Iowa to bring you the latest on the fight for the GOP nomination. Starting at 6 p.m., we’ve got special live Capital Tonight coverage of the Iowa Caucus.

Thoughtful, last minute decisions in Iowa

In the week or so since arriving in Iowa, I’ve learned voters here are all about procrastinating. Pretty much anyone I’ve engaged in conversation has told me who they’re leaning towards, but that they’ll make their final choice caucus night.

Those delayed decisions have left an already volatile field really anyone’s for the taking, at least any of the six GOP hopefuls campaigning here.

Voters have had plenty of opportunity to meet the candidates, hear their different messages in small, intimate settings and fact check their claims – including those made in the ads airing nonstop locally.

Yes, most Iowans do their homework before they caucus. Most.

Some have told me, somewhat starry-eyed, that a candidates’ words alone – especially those that incorporate bible scripture – have locked in their vote.

More than anything they want to be able to vet the candidate. They take the responsibility of being the first Americans to vote seriously. They might not have an impeccable record of predicting the eventual nominee, but they do succeed in narrowing the field.



Voters listen as Governor Perry speaks in Perry, Iowa Monday night.



A big part of the vetting process is Q&A sessions. And Monday night, in his final stop on a multi-city bus tour of Iowa, Rick Perry didn’t offer those in the audience that opportunity.

He spoke at the Hotel Pattee in the town of Perry with familiar faces by his side – his immediate family, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, State Comptroller Susan Combs, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

Afterwards one voter told me about how Rick Santorum had also spoken there, earlier in the day, and how he took 30 to 45 minutes answering questions.

When I asked this voter if his choice was then Santorum, he told me, ‘No, that it’s between Gingrich and Perry.’

What?

Again, anyone’s game. Or, maybe the voters are just having fun with the scores of media in town that clearly outnumber them at many candidate events.

One thing is clear, at least according to state Republican Party officials, the turnout for this caucus is expected to be great.

Voters are motivated to choose the right person to unseat President Barack Obama and with temperatures a balmy 13 degrees (zero with the wind chill), weather shouldn’t be a factor…

Paul makes statewide visits in anticipation of caucus day



YNN’s Alana Rocha shares more from Des Moines, Iowa in the video above..

In the first contest of the 2012 election cycle, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is narrowly trailing leader Mitt Romney.

There can only be one winner in Tuesday’s Iowa GOP presidential nominee caucus, and Paul is aiming to get those votes.

“Ron and Rand Paul are out barnstorming Iowa right now. They’re flying around the state stopping in key towns and just doing whistle stop rallies and getting everyone ready for caucus day,” Ron Paul Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton said.

Benton said Paul is staying on message with talks of balanced budgets, cutting spending, a pro-American foreign policy and respect for civil liberties.

“We see this as a two-man race between Ron and Mitt,” he said. “We see this very much as the establishment in Mitt Romney, versus real change in the grassroots in Ron Paul.”

Benton said Paul’s grassroots in Iowa is strong and they expect to have Iowans at election sites Tuesday.

“We have an unprecedented number of precinct captains and precinct leadership,” he said.

To kick off the day Tuesday, Paul is slated to be at a “Rock the Caucus” event at 10 a.m. with Iowa high school students.

Perry releases new Santorum-slamming ad

Gov. Rick Perry is taking aim at GOP rival Rick Santorum with a new online ad. The new :30 internet spot is called "Rick Santorum – Unelectable."

Perry’s campaign says it will be distributed to Iowa activists and caucus goers before tomorrow. In an email, campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan said "Americans won’t elect a Washington insider who will burden our children with even more debt to pay for pet projects like ‘teapot museums’ and ‘sheep institutes."

Santorum has defended earmarks he supported as senator. He told CNN his record proves he cut spending spending and that he did have some earmarks. In an interview this weekend, Santorum said, "If you look at the Constitution of the United States, it says that Congress spends the money. And what happened was that earmarks were abused. Not mine, but others, who did abuse the earmark process." He said if the public decided Congress should not be using earmarks, he will go along with it.

You can see Perry’s ad, here:

Evangelicals split between Perry and Santorum

On the day before the Iowa Caucus, Gov. Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich are battling it out for third place. And with a new Rasmussen poll showing 41 percent of likely Caucus go-ers could still change their minds, it’s still anyone’s game.

According to a Des Moines Register poll released this weekend, the three candidates are separated by about four percentage points. Judging from voters we spoke with in Iowa, however, evangelicals are divided between Perry and Santorum.

One voter told YNN that she planned to vote for Perry because "anyone who can quote the bible" has her support. Another said she approved of both Perry and Santorum’s family values and "you figure you can trust they’ll treat their constituents well if they treat their family’s well."

Santorum’s surge in the poll this week has opened him up to fresh targets from his rivals, including Gov. Perry. In a new radio ad, Perry took aim at what he called Santrorum’s ‘prolific port barrel spending’ and his support of the ‘bridge to nowhere; a vote Santorum has publicly defended.

Iowans say they’re listening closely to candidate speeches and keeping an eye on ads, but they’re not taking their words at face value. Most voters we spoke with saying they’re fact checking the candidates claims on their own.

New Ron Paul ad debuts in New Hampshire

It appears Rep. Ron Paul, unlike Gov. Rick Perry, is setting his sights on New Hampshire. A new 60-second ad will hit airwaves there, called "Believe." In it, Paul’s supporters talk about needing a "new direction" in Washington and calling DC a "disgrace." The ad features some of Paul’s campaign surrogates, New Hampshire state Senators Andy Sanborn and Ray White.

You can watch the entire ad below: