Former White House Spokesman Blasts Romney for ‘Artificially Low Expectations In Ames’

Aug 13, 2011 11:51am

ABC News' Emily Friedman (@EmilyABC) reports:

Mitt Romney may not be in Ames, Iowa, today for the Straw Poll but he's not immune to attacks from his competitors, especially those from Bill Burton, former White House spokesman who is now with the pro-Obama PAC "PrioritiesUSA," and dedicated an entire memo to the GOP contender this morning.

Burton, in an e-mail blast earlier titled "Romney's artificially low expectations in Ames," railed against Romney for claiming that he's not participating in this year's Straw Poll. Burton writes, "The Romney spin that they aren't competing or even concerned about the results in Iowa doesn't stand up to the facts."

"Romney has enlisted a string of high-profile Iowa endorsers, leads public polling in Iowa and is sitting on $13 million in campaign cash, not counting his vast personal fortune," said Burton. "He participated in the Iowa debate on Thursday, his campaign touted the 10,000 Iowans that joined his tele-town hall, and his campaign is quietly pushing people to attend Ames."

The Romney campaign pushed back on Burton's remarks, with spokeswoman Andrea Saul telling ABC News, "President Obama should spend more time worrying about creating jobs for the millions of Americans out of work, instead of spreading false information about Mitt Romney."

The campaign also noted to ABC News that despite allegations that suggest otherwise, the Romney campaign has not spent a dime on the Iowa Straw Poll this year. No money has been put toward luring voters to Ames or for any ads surrounding the event, according to the campaign.

A source close to the Romney campaign told ABC News that despite allegations, the Romney campaign has not spent a dime on the Iowa Straw Poll this year.

Romney himself has said repeatedly that his decision not to participate in the Iowa Straw Poll — or any straw polls this election cycle — is because he wants to focus his money and time on getting the support of actual delegates.

Earlier this week Romney told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "I want to use my financial resources and time this time to actually get delegates, not just straw polls. Those are nice but they don't get you delegates."

Four years ago Romney won the Iowa Straw Poll but was largely criticized for the millions of dollars he spent to attract voters to the event. And the win didn't do much for his popularity in the state: Romney came in second-place in the 2008 Iowa caucus to Arkansas Republican Mike Huckabee.

Romney is in New Hampshire today but does not have any public events scheduled.

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