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Ames Straw Poll

February 12, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
Ron Paul again triumphed in the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, overwhelming the support for most other potential Republican candidates at the annual gathering of conservatives in the nation's capital. Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who ran for president in 2008, edged former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 30% to 23%. The result was barely changed from last year's, when Paul won 31% to 22%. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie each had 6% of the vote, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 5%. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who did not speak at the three-day gathering, had 3% of the vote.
November 16, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
Iowa's Republican governor sent a warning to Mitt Romney on Wednesday: Don't write off the Hawkeye State. Terry Branstad, a former four-term governor who returned to office this year, said at a forum hosted by Politico that the GOP front-runner is "making a big mistake" by favoring other states to his. "I mean, Romney is dropping in the polls and I think he thinks that he wants to keep down expectations, you know. Well, his expectations may get really bad if he doesn't get a little more serious," Branstad said, according to Politico . "I know Romney is putting his focus in New Hampshire, but if he gets clobbered here - if he comes in not in the top three but say fourth or fifth - I think that really damages his campaign on the national [level]
August 12, 2011 | By James Oliphant
A day before the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, Michele Bachmann seemed to traverse the line from politician to full-blown political celebrity. Careening from event to event in central Iowa, Bachmann arrived for a scheduled speech at the Iowa State Fair 30 minutes late. She then spoke for just three minutes before departing, with many who had been waiting in the baking August sun audibly registering their disappointment. The Minnesota congresswoman's rivals for theGOP nomination, such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, had spoken at length at the so-called “soapbox” at the fair sponsored by the Des Moines Register.
August 11, 2011 | By James Oliphant
Campaigning in Iowa on Thursday, Mitt Romney told a heckler, “Corporations are people, my friend” - words immediately seized upon by Democrats in what they termed as a possible defining statement by the presidential candidate. Romney, speaking to a crowd of hundreds at the Iowa State Fair, was being pressed about raising taxes to help cover entitlement spending. When one mentioned raising corporate tax rates, Romney responded by saying corporations were no different than people.
July 18, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
Rick Perry's flirtation with a presidential run may be nearing an end. The Texas governor told the Des Moines Register -- the largest newspaper in the leadoff nominating state -- that he's two to three weeks away from making a decision. That timeframe puts him on track for an announcement in the first weeks of August, a time when the announced Republican contenders will be barnstorming Iowa ahead of the Ames Straw Poll, one of the nominating race's major cattle calls. It also promises to draw even more attention to an Aug. 6 prayer gathering that Perry is hosting at Houston's Reliant Stadium, called: "The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis.
May 27, 2011 | By James Oliphant
Mitt Romney is spending Friday in Iowa, the site of perhaps his biggest political humiliation three years ago -- a move that suggests his campaign hasn’t given up hope of winning there. It was in the Iowa caucuses in January 2008 where Romney’s White House aspirations suffered a brutal wound at the hands of Mike Huckabee after he had looked the favorite in the state for months. But Huckabee’s not around this time, and Romney doesn’t appear to be entirely writing off the state.
July 11, 2011 | By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau
In a sign that the 2012 presidential race is moving into a new, more discordant phase, Minnesotans Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty exchanged harsh words over their respective capacities to handle the economy. Pawlenty, who, like Bachmann, has his White House hopes pegged to doing well right out of the box in Iowa, triggered the hostilities while on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. Calling Bachmann's record as an office-holder “nonexistent,” Pawlenty said, “We're not looking for folks who just have speech capabilities.
October 14, 2011 | By Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau
The $70 million raised this summer by President Obama enabled his campaign to increase its staff and spend heavily, reaching out to voters by mail, phone and online, according to campaign finance records filed with the Federal Election Commission. Obama and several of his Republican competitors submitted details Friday of their campaign fundraising and spending from July through September. The reports offer the latest insight into the health and operations of the presidential campaigns, including that of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who raised $14 million but spent cash at a faster rate this quarter compared with last.
July 1, 2011 | By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau
The GOP presidential field finally has new entrant. It's not Rick Perry. It's not Sarah Palin. It's not Chris Christie. (Keep going.) It's not Jeb Bush. It's not Paul Ryan. Enough? OK. It's Thad McCotter. This is where you ask: Who is Thad McCotter? Good question. McCotter is a conservative Republican congressman from Michigan. He's held his suburban Detroit district for almost a decade, and he says he jumping into the race because he is dissatisfied with the current crop of candidates, from Mitt Romney on down.
August 11, 2011 | By James Oliphant and Michael A. Memoli
Thursday night's debate on the campus of Iowa State University will be shown on Fox News Channel and will pit eight contenders for the Republican presidential nomination against each other. Expect plenty of Obama-bashing, but the question, as always with events like these, is whether the candidates will violate Ronald Reagan's commandment and take each other on. Here are some things to keep an eye on. 1)      Is Mitt Romney still Teflon? The GOP front-runner had an easy time of it in the first debate, with Tim Pawlenty most famously standing down from challenging Romney on healthcare.
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