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Hawkeye State

November 22, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
The Family Leader, a leading group of conservatives hoping to play kingmaker in the Iowa caucuses, announced Tuesday that it had narrowed its endorsement choice to four of the Republican presidential hopefuls: Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. For any of those four, the group's endorsement before the nation's leadoff nominating contest could be a significant boost, given the outsized role religious and social conservatives have in the Hawkeye State. Also notable, the organization's board said it never considered Mitt Romney, long among the national front-runners for the GOP nomination.
October 21, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
Yet another Republican presidential hopeful seems to have a one-state strategy. Michele Bachmann's entire paid staff in New Hampshire has quit the campaign, which is increasingly focusing all of its resources on a victory in the Iowa caucuses. WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., first reported the departure of Bachmann's six officials, who left "over deep frustration with the campaign's lack of commitment" to the state. The Minnesota congresswoman had already been heavily focused on the Hawkeye State, and the loss of what little New Hampshire operation she had only clarifies her strategy.
March 5, 2012 | By Michael A. Memoli
President Obama will hold his first news conference in more than three months on Tuesday, the latest curious bit of counterprogramming by the White House tied to the Republican race for president. Tuesday, of course, is Super Tuesday in the GOP's nomination fight -- the biggest day of voting yet. Ten states hold caucuses and primaries with more than 400 delegates at stake, or more than a third of the total a candidate needs to clinch the nomination. Last week when Michigan Republicans were casting their votes, Obama spoke to a United Auto Workers gathering in Washington.
October 29, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are at the top of the pack in Iowa, according to a new Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night. The survey of likely caucusgoers showed Cain, the former pizza chain executive, leading all Republican presidential hopefuls with 23%. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is just 1 point behind; Texas Rep. Ron Paul placed third with 12%. Romney narrowly led in the last Register poll, conducted in June,...
August 8, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
Iowa will be ground zero for Republican politicking this week ahead of the Ames straw poll this weekend, the latest milepost in the developing presidential nominating race. But as the GOP hopefuls log valuable face time with voters in the early-voting state, Democrats won't be far behind attempting to define the party's candidates as extreme in what is also a likely general election battleground. Local and national Democrats revealed Monday their efforts to counterprogram the high-profile GOP festivities, which will be grounded in the argument that the party's "extreme aims" (pun intended)
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.
January 5, 2008 | Don Frederick, Frederick is one of the writers of The Times' political blog, Top of the Ticket, at www
Lessons from the 2008 Iowa caucuses (subject to change in four years, given the imponderables of politics): Formative years: Relying on younger voters, less partisan ones and those who have not caucused before can be a winning formula, as Barack Obama's triumph in the Democratic presidential race illustrated. In previous campaigns, even broaching this scenario probably would have gotten a consultant fired.
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]
June 9, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
Mitt Romney will not participate in the Iowa straw poll this summer, a possible sign that he will not make a full-fledged effort to win that state's leadoff nominating contests in 2012. In a statement issued Thursday evening, Romney's campaign said it had decided not to participate in any straw polls, "whether it's in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else. " But Iowa's Ames straw poll, scheduled for August, is far and away the most important, particularly to activists who will have the first say in helping choose the Republican nominee.
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