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Ames Straw Poll

May 16, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
Calling Mike Huckabee's decision not to run for president a "momentous" development, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad predicted one of the most wide-open races in the history of the state's leadoff presidential caucuses, and urged candidates to step up their game soon. Roughly three months before an early test of support, the Ames Straw Poll, the Republican governor said Monday that it's "not too late" for candidates to visit, predicting a "deluge" of activity in the near future. "With hard work and retail politics, going to all 99 counties, meeting with people and answering their questions, this is a state where you can effectively launch a campaign," he told reporters.
August 14, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
President Obama's summer woes have dragged his approval rating to an all-time low, sinking below 40% for the first time in Gallup's daily tracking poll. New data posted Sunday shows that 39% of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, while 54% disapprove. Both are the worst numbers of his presidency. Obama's approval rating has hovered in the 40% range for much of 2011, peaking at 53% in the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden. But Americans' view of his job performance continued to tick downward as the debt-ceiling debate heated up. By the time he signed legislation averting a federal default, he was mired in the low-40% range.
August 5, 2011 | Shane Goldmacher
Thaddeus McCotter, a congressman from Michigan, wants to be president of the United States and he's ready to use a plastic fork, sugar packets and cut up fruit to get there. The long-shot GOP candidate is protesting his lack of inclusion in an upcoming nationally televised debate by producing a short video, with a shaky handheld camera, in which he wields various kitchen props to make his case. (Watch video below.) Holding up a piece of fruit skewered by a plastic fork, McCotter said he thought that “one of the fruits” of competing in the upcoming Ames Straw Poll in Iowa would be acceptance to the debate.
August 14, 2011 | By Maeve Reston and Robin Abcarian
After finishing a distant third place in the crucial Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the presidential race Sunday, telling supporters and friends that after much prayer with his wife, he did not see a way forward. Pawlenty, who announced his decision to donors and supporters on a conference call Sunday morning, had centered his campaign on his neighboring state of Iowa, hoping that his credentials as a social and fiscal conservative would give him broad appeal to first-in-the-nation caucus-goers.
September 7, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
Michele Bachmann made her big splash at a New Hampshire debate in June. When the candidates gathered again to spar in Iowa last month, she had sufficiently risen to top-tier status that she drew repeated fire from Tim Pawlenty. So it was remarkable to see the Minnesota congresswoman relegated to an afterthought Wednesday, getting barely as much face time as Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. It can all be traced to the entrance of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who emerged as an official candidate just as Bachmann was crowned the winner of the Ames Straw Poll.
August 19, 2011 | By James Oliphant
For Michele Bachmann, the hits keep coming. While on the campaign trail earlier this week, she mixed up Elvis Presley's birthday with the day he died. Now, she has apparently brought an Elvis-era menace back from the dead, citing in an interview the growing might of - the Soviet Union. According to the liberal website Think Progress, Bachmann, whose grasp of history on the trail at times has been somewhat shaky, said during a radio interview Thursday that Americans today are mindful of the threat posed by a rising U.S.S.R., which, like Elvis, left the building a long, long time ago. ( Listen below.
October 20, 2011 | By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
Mitt Romney signaled a new front in the battle for Iowa's winter caucuses, brushing aside the political impact of his Mormon faith in the state's strongly evangelical Republican ranks here and insisting that he will campaign fiercely for support from all voters. Romney took on the issue of his faith after a voter asked whether he ought to clarify misinformation about it in light of a pastor recently calling Mormonism a cult. Romney said he felt no need to defend his faith but — much as he did in Tuesday's presidential debate — said he counted on voters to see through the criticism.
March 24, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli and Paul West, Washington Bureau
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is not denying a report that she will form a presidential exploratory committee this summer, saying Thursday she would aim to formally enter the campaign just ahead of a key test of support in Iowa. With considerable uncertainty about Sarah Palin's future plans, a Bachmann candidacy would ensure the field of candidates seeking to challenge President Obama includes a fiery voice with appeal to "tea party" activists. CNN, citing sources close to the three-term Minnesota congresswoman, reported Thursday morning that she will take the first step toward a White House run in early June so that she could participate in scheduled GOP candidate debates.
July 19, 2011 | By Maeve Reston
Adding some fire to his rivalry with his home-state colleague, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday that Michele Bachmann did not have the requisite executive experience to be elected president in 2012. Though he has campaigned intensively here for many months, Pawlenty has been overshadowed recently by the Minnesota congresswoman, who has shot up in the polls. But Pawlenty warned against putting too much stock in Bachmann's surge. “You can't measure these things in one moment in time,” said Pawlenty, who served as Minnesota's governor from 2002 until January.
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