The Fix: Iowa

Looking for GOP disunity? Head to Iowa.

One of the easiest applause lines for a Republican politician these days is to accuse the national news media of focusing too much on the divisions and disagreements in the Grand Old Party. But it was impossible to miss the signs of discord Friday night at a Republican Party fundraiser in Des Moines.

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The butter cow, vandalized

The butter cow, vandalized

The dog days of August mean -- or should mean -- just one thing for political junkies: The Iowa State Fair.

The fair is one of the Fix's favorite political events -- particularly in a presidential election year. It was at the state fair that Mitt Romney uttered the "corporations are people, my friend" line that went on to haunt him. It's where they hold a mock presidential vote using corn kernels. It's where they fry things that probably should never be fried and they put things on a stick that really don't belong there. And it's where the butter cow lives.

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How much does Iowa matter? Not as much as you might think.

How much does Iowa matter? Not as much as you might think.

AMES, Iowa -- Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and even the Donald.

Yep, just another weekend in Iowa.

The first-in the-nation caucus state has been flooded with attention this year from potential Republican 2016 contenders, pretenders and power brokers.

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2016 is well underway in Iowa. Just look at this weekend.

2016 is well underway in Iowa. Just look at this weekend.

Blink and you might have missed the start of the 2016 presidential campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

It will ramp up in the next couple of days with several events featuring the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Rick Santorum, and Emily's List, a group that works to elect women who support abortion rights, and has launched a campaign to elect a female president.

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Iowa, meet Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, Iowa.

Iowa, meet Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, Iowa.

They say you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. So it's pretty important day for Ted Cruz in Iowa.

The fiery Texas conservative senator is in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, where he'll headline the Iowa GOP's summer picnic and address a meeting of evangelical pastors. It's his first appearance in Iowa since joining the Senate this year.

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For Iowa GOP, it's looking like Steve King or bust

For Iowa GOP, it's looking like Steve King or bust

The matchup for an open Senate seat in Iowa is apparently set, thanks to Rep. Tom Latham's (R-Iowa) decision Wednesday not to run.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is now a heavy favorite to win the GOP nomination, assuming he runs (which is a good bet and looking stronger). In the general election, he would almost definitely be pitted against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who has a near-lock on the Democratic nomination.

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Harkin retirement presents GOP with an opportunity and a test

Harkin retirement presents GOP with an opportunity and a test

Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's retirement strengthens the Republican Party's chances of picking up a seat that has been in Democratic hands for nearly 30 years. It also presents the party with a crucial test: Will it nominate the most electable Republican or a conservative with a strong base but limited potential in November?

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The 10 most interesting states in politics

The 10 most interesting states in politics

On Tuesday, we asked Fixistas to undertake a very important mission: To tell us why your state is the most interesting state in politics.

Once again, you came through in spades.

We had some great entries for our contest. Below, we're highlighting the 10 best entries and (accordingly) the 10 most interesting political states — a designation that will surely go down in the history books for all 10.

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The 7 most important counties in Election 2012

The 7 most important counties in Election 2012

Election junkies are about to get bombarded with data, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, when the first polls close in Kentucky and Indiana.

But how to follow it all?

Below, The Fix highlights seven bellwether counties in critical swing states that will give us a good idea who is about to become the next president.

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Obama cracks 50 percent in three swing states

Obama cracks 50 percent in three swing states

Yet more swing state polling shows President Obama asserting a lead, with a trio of polls from NBC News and Marist College showing him at the all-important 50 percent mark in Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The polls show Obama leading Mitt Romney 50 percent to 45 percent in both Colorado and Wisconsin and 50 percent to 42 percent in Iowa. (The Wisconsin poll also showed Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin gaining in that state’s important Senate race. She’s now at 48 percent, compared to Republican former governor Tommy Thompson’s 46 percent.)

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What’s the matter with Iowa?

President Obama is in the midst of a three-day campaign swing through the state of Iowa, his longest visit to one state so far in the 2012 race and a sign of the concern and consequence with which his side holds the Hawkeye State.


President Barack Obama stops for a snow cone at Tropical Sno, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Denison, Iowa, during a three day campaign bus tour through Iowa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“I have nightmares about the electoral college coming down to 266-266, with Iowa to decide it,” said longtime Iowa Democratic operative Jerry Crawford. “It’s not as far-fetched as it might sound.”

Added Dave Roederer, who ran the George W. Bush operation in Iowa: “This is an unprecedented five-city tour. I doubt he’s here for the mountains.”

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Iowa GOP declares Rick Santorum winner of the Iowa caucuses

Iowa GOP declares Rick Santorum winner of the Iowa caucuses

The Iowa Republican Party late Friday declared Rick Santorum the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

The party earlier this week issued the final canvassed results of the Jan. 3 race, which showed the former Pennsylvania senator overtaking Mitt Romney by a 34-vote margin. But in doing so, it noted that results from eight precincts weren’t certified, which led to confusion over whether it was officially declaring a winner or left the race as a virtual tie.

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Rick Santorum may have won Iowa, but does it even matter?

Rick Santorum may have won Iowa, but does it even matter?

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

It appears quite possible that Rick Santorum — not Mitt Romney — won the Iowa caucuses two weeks ago.

We’ll never know for sure due to incomplete official results, but according to the final results released today, Santorum has a 34-vote edge on Romney, casting doubt on the previous version of events that Romney won by eight votes and, at the very least, making the race a virtual tie.

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Rick Santorum: I may have won Iowa

Rick Santorum may have won Iowa, James Dobson called Callista Gingrich a “mistress of eight years,” Obama will speak in Bank of America stadium and a competitive House race might be shaping up in Portland of all place.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m!

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Iowa caucuses prediction contest: We have a winner!

Remember the Iowa caucuses? Was that really less than a week ago?

Well, just in time for tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary, we’ve tabulated the results and come up with a winner in the highly-competitive Iowa caucuses prediction contest.

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The 2012 Iowa caucuses and the 10 closest races in history

The 2012 Iowa caucuses and the 10 closest races in history

Were the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday night the closest major race in modern U.S. political history? No. But they were damn close.

A review of the closest contests on the books shows the 8-vote margin for Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Iowa was the third-closest (in terms of actual votes) in modern history — behind only a Senate race in New Hampshire and a congressional race in Indiana.

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Eight lessons the Iowa caucuses taught us

Eight lessons the Iowa caucuses taught us

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s 8-vote victory over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in the 2012 Iowa caucuses is only a few hours old — and already is one of the legendary results in the history of presidential politics.

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Romney and Santorum demonstrate hugely different bases of support

Romney and Santorum demonstrate hugely different bases of support

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum wound up in a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday. And they did it from extremely different bases of support.

While Santorum relied on very conservative voters, born-again Christians, and social and moral conservatives, Romney relied on voters who were most concerned about the economy, who just want to beat President Obama, and those who don’t identify as born-agains.

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Perry to reassess his campaign after poor Iowa finish

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Tuesday night that he will return to the Lone Star State to reassess his GOP presidential campaign after a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

“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.

Perry had been scheduled to travel to South Carolina on Wednesday to campaign.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who finished in sixth place, offered no indication of any plans to drop out in her speech Tuesday night. She is also scheduled to go to South Carolina on Wednesday.

Perry’s fifth-place finish came despite him and his supporters spending more than anyone else on TV ads in the Hawkeye State.

His prospects in the next few contests don’t appear much better at this point. And pausing to reassess the campaign isn’t going to help him raise money if he decides to stay in the race.

Iowa caucus: Join the live chat (#askthefix)

It’s the night we’ve all been waiting for! Starting at 8 p.m. eastern time, Iowans will caucus to cast the first votes of the 2012 Republican presidential race.

And we will be bring it all to you live! Once Iowans start heading into their caucuses, we’ll start live-blogging. And we won’t stop until the results are known, the speeches have been given and the confetti is cleaned up.

You can participate below or using #askthefix on Twitter.

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Ron Paul, big spender

Ron Paul, big spender

A detailed examination of the money being spent by the Republican presidential candidates on television ads produces a somewhat surprising result: Texas Rep. Ron Paul is spending the most money on commercials in early states.

According to ad buy information provided to the Fix by a Republican following the TV ad wars closely, Paul spent $554,000 on television ads in Iowa ($344,000) and New Hampshire ($210,000) in the week beginning Dec. 19 and ending Dec. 25.

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How to track Romney’s Iowa performance

How to track Romney’s Iowa performance

Iowa has a lot of counties (99 to be exact), which makes tracking the results in tonight’s caucuses all that much more difficult.

To help you out, we here at The Fix have crafted a chart to help you keep score. (And also be sure to check out our six Iowa counties to watch tonight.)

Below, we have put together five key pieces of information for each county in the state: population, number of registered Republicans, what percentage of the vote former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney took in the 2008 caucuses, how much Romney won or lost by in that county in 2008, and a projection for how well he will need to do to win.

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Rick Santorum’s Iowa surge. Charted.

Rick Santorum’s Iowa surge. Charted.

Evidence of former Pennsyvania senator Rick Santorum ’s surge in Iowa is everywhere — from packed events over the final few days to a media horde now following his every move.

Move from 10 feet to 10,000 feet — the Fix is nothing if not a high-riser — and the rapidity of Santorum’s rise is equally striking.

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Iowa caucuses: The Fix prediction contest!

Iowa caucuses: The Fix prediction contest!

The Iowa caucuses are here! Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time, Iowans will gather across the state to pick the man (or woman) that they believe represents Republicans’ best chance to knock off President Obama next November.

But before Iowans tell us what they think, we want to hear what you think. In the comments section below, offer your prediction on who will claim the top three spots — with percentages! — in tonight’s voting. As a tie-breaker, offer your prediction on what the overall turnout for the Republican caucuses will be.

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2012 Iowa caucuses: The 6 counties to watch

It’s caucus day!

After months of campaigning, debating and spinning, the moment of reckoning has arrived, as the Iowa caucuses officially kick off the Republican presidential nomination fight tonight.
The sun sets over a farm Sunday in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

We’ll have tons of coverage throughout the day — both on The Fix as well as our Election 2012 blog — and a live blog tracking all the results right here beginning at 8 p.m. eastern time.

In the meantime — and, yes, the wait for results will be interminable for all of us — here’s six counties to keep an eye on as the results roll in. They’ll tell us where the race is headed before it gets there.

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Afternoon Fix: Newt Gingrich says ‘I don’t think I’m going to win’ Iowa

Gingrich doesn’t think he’ll win Iowa, Rick Santorum gets the Duggar family, Perry wants names and Paul is has a plan to win it all.

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The secret of Mitt Romney’s Iowa success? Electability.

The secret of Mitt Romney’s Iowa success? Electability.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ’s rise to the top of the polls in Iowa is built almost exclusively on a single word: electability.

Look inside the Des Moines Register poll, which showed Romney leading the way with 24 percent of the vote, and it’s clear that the former Massachusetts governor’s “head” appeal (we need to nominate someone who can beat President Obama next fall) is winning out over the doubts many voters in the state still have about his conservative bona fides and ability to relate to average Iowans.

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In Iowa caucus, independent voters could swing results

In Iowa caucus, independent voters could swing results

Only registered Republicans can vote in the Iowa caucuses, but anyone eligible to vote or even registered with another party can decide to register as a Republican on Tuesday evening and participate in the caucuses.

“I think we could have record caucus turnout, and I think that could be in large part with people who had affiliated themselves as independents and now will affiliate themselves as Republicans,” said Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R), who is supporting former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum .

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Iowa Caucus: Setting the odds!

Iowa Caucus: Setting the odds!

The Fix is a terrible gambler. (And, of course, gambling is illegal.) But that doesn’t mean we don’t love to dabble in odds-making — especially when it comes to politics.

With less than 24 hours left until the Iowa caucuses — yes! — we have set our final odds for the six candidates hoping to win the Hawkeye State on Tuesday.

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What Rick Santorum and John Edwards have in common

What Rick Santorum and John Edwards have in common

For six years — from 1998 to 2004 — Rick Santorum and John Edwards served in the Senate together. And it would seem that that time spent in the world's greatest deliberative body is about all the two men ever had in common.

But Santorum’s current surge in Iowa evokes nothing so much as Edwards’ rapid rise in the Hawkeye State in the final days before the 2004 caucuses.

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Mitt Romney leads in new Des Moines Register poll

Mitt Romney leads in new Des Moines Register poll

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney holds a razor-thin edge over Texas Rep. Ron Paul with just three days left before the Iowa caucuses, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night.

Romney takes 24 percent to 22 percent for Paul. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum places third with 15 percent. But he is also clearly the candidate with most momentum; over the final two days of the four-day survey, Santorum’s support surged to 21 percent ahead of Paul and just behind Romney.

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Afternoon Fix: Steve King hints at endorsement to stop Paul

Steve King lays into Ron Paul, Matt Romney makes a bad joke, New Mexico has a new map and Rick Perry is still after Rick Santorum.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.

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Mitt Romney, Iowa frontrunner

Mitt Romney, Iowa frontrunner

It’s been a long, strange trip for Mitt Romney in Iowa, but with just days left before the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, the former Massachusetts governor is the odds-on bet to claim victory in the Hawkeye State.

That Romney sits atop the Iowa field — and two new polls (here and here) confirm that status — heading into the final weekend speaks to just how odd a race this has been so far.

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Inside the Rick Santorum surge

Inside the Rick Santorum surge

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is the hottest candidate in Iowa, surging into contention with just five days before the first-in-the-nation caucuses, according to a new CNN/Time poll.

What explains Santorum’s surge? And can he keep moving on up? The first question is easier to answer than the second.

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Mitt Romney tries to make history in Iowa and New Hampshire

Mitt Romney tries to make history in Iowa and New Hampshire

If former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney can pull off back-to-back wins in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary in the next 12 days, he will not only take a major step toward winning the Republican presidential nomination, but he’ll also write his name into the history books.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll out Wednesday showed Romney leading Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in Iowa by a slim margin. The poll means Romney is now polling as the frontrunner in both of the two earliest states (he led Paul by 27 points in New Hampshire).

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Afternoon Fix: Gingrich puts $500,000 in Iowa ads

Gingrich is buying big, Romney and Santorum would vote for Paul, Kaptur and Kucinich are ready to battle and Jindal is robocalling.

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New Ron Paul ad: He’s ‘the one we’ve been looking for’

In his latest presidential campaign ad, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) positions himself as the only candidate who can stand up to the “Washington machine.”

Paul has taken hits from rivals this week for his isolationist foreign policy and hands-off approach on many issues. This ad tries to turn his longtime iconoclastic views from a negative to a positive, painting Paul as a lone man of principle in a field of compromising politicians.

In a year when every candidate wants to be an outsider, it might not be a bad strategy.

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Is Newt Gingrich going bust in Iowa?

The 2012 Republican presidential campaign — both nationally and in the state of Iowa — has been defined in large part by a series of boom/bust cycles by conservative candidates.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann boomed in Iowa over the summer then busted when Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the contest. Businessman Herman Cain surged earlier in the fall only to bust — badly — amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s boom was cast by many as the final one of the race, coming, as it did, with the Iowa caucuses rapidly approaching.

And yet, Gingrich already appears to be on the down side of the boom-bust cycle with a week left to go before the Iowa caucuses. In fact, Gingrich’s growing and receding support seems to be following a very familiar pattern.

Check out this chart from the good folks at Real Clear Politics that looks at the breadth of polling down throughout the Iowa race. It’s a chart that should make Team Gingrich grimace.

Mitt Romney and the Iowa expectations game

Mitt Romney and the Iowa expectations game

Mitt Romney begins a three-day tour through Iowa today, a trip sure to re-start the conversation about where the former Massachusetts governor will finish in the first-in-the-nation caucuses in a week’s time.

The Romney team — as they have done throughout this presidential contest — are downplaying his Iowa expectations, insisting that, unlike several of his main rivals, he doesn’t need to win the state and isn’t expected to do so.

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Dole says Romney campaign didn’t know about VP chat with Branstad

Former senator and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole said Tuesday that Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign had no knowledge of his phone call to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) in which Dole suggested he would recommend Branstad as a vice presidential pick.

Branstad talked about their conversation at a press conference Monday, and given Dole’s endorsement of Romney over the weekend, some have suggested it was a ploy by the Romney campaign to get a leg up in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. The Iowa caucuses are on Jan. 3.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks to legislative reporters during a meeting organized by The Associated Press earlier this month at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Dole said it was nothing of the sort.

“Let me make it clear that this was my own opinion and the Romney campaign didn’t have any knowledge of my call,” Dole said in a statement released to The Fix. “Gov. Branstad and I are good friends, and I called him up to tell him what I thought.”

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Bob Vander Plaats endorses Santorum. Does it matter?

Bob Vander Plaats endorses Santorum. Does it matter?

Could the Rick Santorum surge actually happen?

Two influential Iowa Christian conservatives endorsed the former Pennsylvania senator today — Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats and Iowa Family Policy Center Chuck Hurley.

Santorum is still a longshot to win thr rapidly-approaching Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, and a long, long, longshot to win the GOP presidential nomination.

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Newt Gingrich fights back in Iowa

Newt Gingrich fights back in Iowa

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is spending $242,000 ona week’s worth of television ads in Iowa, according to a Republican media buyer, as he seeks to combat massive spending against him in the run-up to the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The money will go to 30-second spots airing from tomorrow through next Monday. The focus is on Des Moines — the average person will see the Gingrich ad ten times in a week in that market — but there will also be heavy rotation in Cedar Rapids and Sioux City with smaller buys in Davenport and the Rochester-Mason City market. Gingrich is also airing ads on Fox News, ESPN and the History Channel.

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Can Ron Paul win Iowa? Yup.

Can Ron Paul win Iowa? Yup.

Fifteen days out from the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses there’s one question on the collective mind of the political world: Can Ron Paul actually win?

The Texas Republican is, without question, far better organized in the state than he was in 2008 when he placed fifth in the state’s caucuses. And, he has been on television for months with commercials that are a vast improvement over the this-looks-like-it-was-done-in-my-parents’- basement ads that he ran in the last race. (The improvement in Paul’s ads is due to the underrated Jon Downs.)

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Is the Iowa caucus about to go into a deep freeze?

Is the Iowa caucus about to go into a deep freeze?

There are five shopping days left until Christmas, and only 15 days until the Iowa caucuses. In between will be New Year’s Eve/Day and not one but two college football bowl games involving schools based in the Hawkeye State.

That’s a packed next two weeks for Iowans, a schedule so crowded with — mostly — non-political events that it’s uniquely possible that the 2012 Republican presidential race will freeze in place somewhere over the next few days.

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Ron Paul is Mitt Romney’s best (Iowa) friend

Ron Paul is Mitt Romney’s best (Iowa) friend

Want to know the key to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney winding up as the Republican presidential nominee? Two words: Ron Paul.

The Texas Congressman’s strength in Iowa — there is a legitimate case to be made that he will win the Jan. 3 caucuses but more on that later — coupled with his willingness to go after frontrunning former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in often quite personal terms make him perhaps the critical x-factor in Romney’s winning calculus.

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Is political organization overrated?

The rapid rise of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Iowa (as well as everywhere else) raises a question that has long been on our minds: Is political organization overrated?


Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talks to supporters Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

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Iowa Republican debate: Winners and losers

Iowa Republican debate: Winners and losers

It’s all over but the spinning at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where six Republican presidential candidates duked it out earlier this evening.

We live-blogged the debate but also managed to come up with some of the winners — and losers — from the night that was. Our picks are below. Have some of your own? The comments section awaits.

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Rick Perry, the Iowa x-factor

Rick Perry, the Iowa x-factor

Remember Rick Perry?

The Texas governor has largely played a bit part (Lemonheads reference!) in the presidential race in the six weeks (or so) since his disastrous “oops” moment in a nationally televised debate. But he may now be poised to play a bigger role in the contest — if not as a primary contender than as a spoiler.

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Steve King: No ‘full spectrum conservative’ has emerged in 2012 field

Steve King: No ‘full spectrum conservative’ has emerged in 2012 field

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King acknowledged that he had hoped a “full spectrum conservative candidate” would have stepped forward by this point in the 2012 Republican presidential race and the fact that one hasn’t emerged has kept him from endorsing anyone in the current field.

In an interview Tuesday with the Fix, King said that while the race’s two current frontrunners — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — have “articulated” a conservative policy platform “when you look at the records it’s a little harder to accept it all as its delivered.”

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Mitt Romney has an Iowa problem

Mitt Romney has an Iowa problem

Yes, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is running 15 points behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a new Washington Post-ABC News survey of likely Iowa caucus-goers.

But it’s not where Romney stands today in the poll that should be so troubling for his campaign. It’s that the numbers reveal that Romney has a narrow path — at best — to victory in the Jan. 3 caucuses.

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Newt Gingrich leads in new Iowa Poll

Newt Gingrich leads in new Iowa Poll

The new Des Moines Register poll shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with a solid lead in Iowa, winning support from 25 percent of 401 likely Republican caucus-goers. That’s a huge shift — in October, Gingrich was at 7 percent.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is in second place with 18 percent, rising from 12 percent in October. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has fallen from 22 percent to 16 percent.

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Mitt Romney raises the Iowa stakes

Mitt Romney raises the Iowa stakes

The news that Mitt Romney is going up with television ads in Iowa clears up any doubt that the former Massachusetts governor is making a real play to win the state’s caucuses and, in so doing, virtually ensure that he will be the Republican presidential nominee.

Romney’s campaign — both publicly and privately — sought to downplay the significance of the new ad campaign, insisting that this was always part of a slow-build strategy in a state where polling suggests the race is totally wide open.

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Ron Paul is for real in Iowa. Seriously.

Ron Paul is for real in Iowa. Seriously.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, long dismissed by the GOP establishment as a fringe candidate, has broadened his electoral appeal and emerged as a major player in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, according to several recent polls and conversations with a handful of longtime Hawkeye political operatives.

“He has certainly broadened his coalition from the ‘rage against the machine’ types that primarily comprised his supporters in 2008,” said one senior Iowa Republican operative granted anonymity to speak candidly about Paul’s prospects. “The expanded coalition includes more traditional activists — as a number of GOP county chairs have endorsed his campaign, as have a handful of legislators.”

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Rick Perry: It’s now or never

Rick Perry: It’s now or never

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands at a now-or-never moment for his presidential campaign, teetering between second-tier status and emerging as the prime alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the nomination fight.

There’s little question that circumstances have provided Perry with an opening that is almost too good to be true. Just as his inexplicable flirtation with birtherism raised further questions about his readiness for primetime — and earned him our “Worst Week in Washington” award — a path to a Perry comeback has presented itself.

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Iowa likely to pick Jan. 3 for caucuses; all eyes on New Hampshire

Iowa likely to pick Jan. 3 for caucuses; all eyes on New Hampshire

Updated at 3:24 p.m.

Iowa’s Republican Party has tentatively set its 2012 presidential caucuses for Jan. 3, avoiding holding the contest in December, according to two state central committee members.

A.J. Spiker said members of the central committee agreed to the date on an informal conference call Thursday night.

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Values Voters summit kicks off in values-light season

Values Voters summit kicks off in values-light season

We’ll be liveblogging speeches from Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum from the Values Voters summit today — beginning with Santorum at 11:40 —, so stay tuned.

This weeked, social conservatives are gathering in Washington, D.C. for the Values Voters summit, a big three-day confab organized by the Family Research Council. But the high-profile event comes during a campaign in which social issues have been all but ignored.

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Is there room for Christie in Iowa, New Hampshire?

Is there room for Christie in Iowa, New Hampshire?

Republican operatives and activists in the critical early states of Iowa and New Hampshire say the field in each state remain remarkably wide open, handing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a golden opportunity if he decides to pursue the GOP presidential nomination.

“Given the slow start to the campaign, even the newest entry to the race, [Texas Gov.] Rick Perry, has yet to spend a great deal of time in New Hampshire so a compelling figure like Governor Christie could make a big impact,” said Mike Dennehy, who directed Sen. John McCain’s 2000 and 2008 campaigns in the Granite State. “There is a sizable portion of elected officials and activists who have yet to sign on with a candidate but the time to influence them is rapidly closing because it doesn’t happen overnight.”

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