Good morning and Happy Chanukah from Davenport, Iowa. We are 12 days out from the Iowa caucuses. We here at Good Morning Iowa are always open to news tips, suggestions, and praise…critiques too. Thanks to the other morning notes that this takes much of its inspiration from. We love all the suggestions and tips we have received since we started…and all our new readers!
Three of the candidates are in the state today. Rick Perry is on Day Eight of his bus tour. It’s his final day of the first leg of the tour. By the end of today, he will have made 30 stops in 25 cities in the last eight days. This morning he will stop in Burlington, Iowa followed by stops in Ottumwa and a tour and town hall at TPI Iowa in Newton, a wind energy company. Michele Bachmann is on Day Seven of her bus tour and has another marathon day with ten stops (Feel badly for the reporters chasing her bus? I do.) She starts at 9:25am this morning in Anamosa and her last stop is at 8:15 this evening in Anamosa. In between she stops in Vinton, Tama, Brooklyn, Marengo, Iowa City, Sigourney, Oskaloosa, and Albia. Ron Paul has four town halls today: in Maquoketa, Dubuque, Manchester, and Cedar Rapids.
Weather: It’s 31 degrees in Davenport and we are expecting snow this afternoon. Bundle up!
Make sure to read The Note from Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) and Amy Walter (@amyewalter):It’s Getting Hot In Here: GOP Candidates Sharpen Knives http://abcn.ws/vslU2z
This is the front page that Davenport and other residents of the Quad Cities are waking up to today: http://bit.ly/uQSJMp
What’s in the Quad-City Times?
Paul: Ed Tibbetts (@EdTibbetts) on Paul’s massive crowd last night in Bettendorf: Rising in the polls, Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul drew at least 600 people to the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf on Wednesday to hear a 45-minute speech on the ills of the federal debt, foreign wars and declining liberties. The Texas congressman has been touring eastern Iowa the last couple of days, drawing large crowds. And he said things have changed from four years ago, when he finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses. “There’s a lot of people like you that are waking up,” he said. Paul’s crowd, which his campaign first estimated at 600-plus and later said topped 800, is the largest for a single candidate’s event in the Quad-Cities this year. And though he didn’t take questions from the audience, Paul’s monologue drew several cheers and even one, “We love you, Ron.” http://bit.ly/tCqdZ8
GMI was also there last night and it was the largest crowd I’ve seen for any candidate this cycle. The audience was also incredibly attentive, hanging on his every word.
Perry vs. Paul: In an editorial board meeting with the Quad City Times, Perry offered a tough critique of opponent and fellow Texan Ron Paul calling him “hypocritical” and a “backbencher” in Congress. http://bit.ly/tzxzak
This is the front page Des Moines residents are waking up to today: http://bit.ly/s0wS1q
What’s In The Register?
Gingrich: Jason Clayworth (@JasonClayworth) has the story of Gingrich getting some unwanted attention yesterday. The news was supposed to be his endorsement by Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen, but protestors stole the spotlight: Occupy Des Moines protesters sidelined the endorsement of Newt Gingrich from one of Iowa’s top political leaders. ”Mic Check,” David Goodner of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement yelled and a few others from his group shouted as he quickly stood up and security officials ushered to his direction and escorted him out. A few minutes later after the commotion had subsided, a few others began chanting, “Put people first.” Gingrich’s response: “I was at the University of Iowa the other day and that same 1/10th of one percent – all noise, no thought – tried to drown out the conversation so I appreciate you all putting it in that perspective,” said Gingrich, a former U.S. House speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate…Soon after the press conference this morning at the Capitol finished, several of the nine protesters from CCI or Occupy Des Moines attempted to ask Gingrich questions about taxes and other issues but were either held back from some of Gingrich’s staff or given only a slight answer from Gingrich as he left the room. http://dmreg.co/u7EbAt
Occupy: Clayworth also has the front page story of what this could mean for the caucuses: Protesters heckled and chased Newt Gingrich and his wife as they left the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday, a turbulent scene that Iowa political leaders fear could be replayed again and again before Jan. 3, jeopardizing the civil discourse tradition of the Iowa caucuses. The leaders say they’re gearing up for a showdown. The protesters — some involved with the Occupy movement — say they plan to attend candidate appearances, stand up, scream questions and disrupt the events. The foundation of the caucuses is civil dialogue, where Iowans can engage in conversation, said Matt Strawn, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party.”The more that agitators disrupt these events, the more it takes away from the Iowa caucus experience,” Strawn said. “It doesn’t give other Iowans an opportunity to ask the questions.” Strawn this week sent information to each of Iowa’s 99 Republican county chairs and to the 1,774 caucus precinct chairs with instructions on how to handle protests…Protesters — two from Occupy Des Moines and seven from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund — shouted to Gingrich Wednesday that they plan to follow him “everywhere you go.” ”That’s the goal,” Megan Felt, an organizer of Occupy Des Moines said when asked whether her group plans to interrupt every upcoming candidate event. “I can only say what happens in Des Moines, but we hope it happens all over Iowa. We’re the 99 percent, and we need to show that by taking our bodies to the event and speaking up.” http://dmreg.co/sdw4lG
Gingrich: Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson (@okayhenderson) reports on the endorsement where Paulsen compared Gingrich to Branstad: Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, compared Newt Gingrich to Terry Branstad as Paulsen announced his endorsement of Gingrich in a statehouse news conference. Paulsen said he has noticed Branstad’s “intensity of purpose” over the last year, driven by his time out of the governorship and returning with an agenda to enact. Paulsen said he sees the same intensity of purpose in Gingrich and, according to Paulsen, that should “frighten the political elite and the insiders” in D.C. because Gingrich has had “time to develop a plan” since he’s been out of congress. ”He is a Washington outsider,” Paulsen said, adding Gingrich would “shatter the D.C. Beltway status quo.” http://bit.ly/mQtH1G
Even More Gingrich vs. Occupy: ABC’s Elicia Dover has Gingrich’s reaction: Gingrich remained calm and collected during the protest, as he glanced at his wife, Callista and she shook her head in amazement. Gingrich told the press in the room, that after campaigning in Iowa, he knows the protesters are the “One-tenth of the one percent in Iowa.” Gingrich also referred to last week when he was “mic-checked” at the University of Iowa during a speech on brain science, two people were escorted out. ”They were also the one-tenth of the one percent,” Gingrich said. “All noise, no thought, trying to drown out conversation,” Gingrich said. After the dust settled from the protestors this morning, Gingrich continued his speech, when another man stood up and yelled at Gingrich that he wanted to speak to him. Gingrich told him he “I’ll talk to you outside.” Gingrich stopped and spoke with the man on the way out and was heckled by several others who stayed behind in the hall. http://abcn.ws/u1aVGz
Register Columnist Kathie Obradovich (@KObradovich) says some leaders of religious conservative groups in Iowa need to take a deep breath: The Family Leader, a Christian conservative organization, has spent over a year setting itself up as the arbiter of the presidential candidates’ worthiness on matters of faith, religion and morality. This week, the group’s board threw up its hands, unable to agree on which of several candidates to anoint with an endorsement. Bob Vander Plaats, the group’s CEO, and Chuck Hurley, president of the associated Iowa Family Policy Center, separately endorsed Rick Santorum. The group’s lobbyist, Danny Carroll, and some evangelical pastors had previously endorsed Michele Bachmann. If it weren’t clear already, it became glaringly obvious that Iowa evangelicals are not uniting around a single candidate this year. Cue the tiny violins. Hurley, quoted by The Des Moines Register, suggested some of the candidates should drop out, so one of them would have a shot at winning the caucuses. “Why can’t the top three or so pro-family candidates come together and figure out who has the talents for president, who has the talents for other roles?”Ah, heck. Why can’t we just cancel the caucuses and let Hurley decide who should win? The fact is, the Family Leader and other evangelical conservatives in Iowa have had an embarrassment of riches. It’s remarkable that four out of the six candidates still in the Iowa race — Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry along with Bachmann and Santorum — managed to meet the group’s criteria for having a “Biblical world view.” One of the others, Mitt Romney, seemed to have been excluded more for skipping evangelical groups’ events than for his current positions on specific issues. Read it here: http://dmreg.co/uupioY
Perry: William Petroski (@WilliamPetroski) talks to a Perry co-chair about the amount of Iowans still undecided less than two weeks out: With statewide polls showing wide swings in public opinion, the upcoming Iowa Caucuses have far more potential than in the past for 11th-hour decisions by Republican caucus-goers, says a top official for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Iowa presidential campaign. ”I think more than ever we will see people persuaded by campaign representatives at the caucuses,” said former U.S. District Attorney Matt Whitaker of Urbandale, co-chairman of Perry’s Iowa operation. ”I still think there are a lot of undecideds,” Whitaker said. “Lots of people have questions and want a candidate who will meet their needs. Obviously, I believe it’s Rick Perry.” http://dmreg.co/ufqNpJ
Paul: TheIowaRepublican’s Kevin Hall on the Paul organization and ground game: http://bit.ly/ssxqk5
Bachmann: TheIowaRepublican’s Craig Robinson (@IowaGOPer) on the Minnesota congresswoman’s grueling bus tour and if the pace really helps the campaign: http://bit.ly/toKqcY
ABC’s John Berman (@johnsberman) on the three new ads from three of the campaign wives. And he talks kitchens. Watch here: http://abcn.ws/rCoy40
Paul: TheIowaRepublican also reports on the Texas congressman’s new web ad focusing on his anti-abortion stance: http://bit.ly/s3M5i9
Perry: ABC’s Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) reports that for the first time, Make Us Great Again, the super PAC supporting Texas Governor Rick Perry’s presidential bid, went negative, rehashing the unpopular stances adopted by his opponents Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. The ad will air in Iowa and South Carolina, and MUGA increased its ad buy in the Hawkeye state by $175,000 in order to promote the TVspot. http://abcn.ws/th6EaB
Saenz also reports on Anita Perry’s television ad, featured in Berman’s piece: Rick Perry’s campaign released a new advertisement in Iowa featuring his wife Anita as she describes their early courtship and upbringing in a small town with strong values. http://abcn.ws/t4bsr4
What Else is in the Register?
Even More Gingrich: Clayworth talks to JC Watts about his backing of the former Speaker: A football star who has endorsed Gingrich said today in Iowa that the attacks against him are understandable but that Gingrich’s campaign has held up well despite the criticism. ”When you consider all the negative stuff, if the polls are accurate, he’s stood his own. You’ve got to gear yourself up to say, ‘Let’s weather the storm,’” said J.C. Watts, a former U.S. representative from Oklahoma and former quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners. ”I think Newt’s greatest asset is getting before people. I do think he has a good message and if you can expose that to a lot of people, that’s good for us,” said Watts, who is now a lobbyist. Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. They’re barking at Newt right now but I think we feel like we’re positioned pretty well going into the home stretch.” http://dmreg.co/uF7AZB
Paul: Mary Stegmeir reports the Texas congressman believes more people are jumping on board with his economic policy: After roughly four years in an economic slump, more and more Americans are beginning to advocate for a “hands-off” approach to economics, Ron Paul said today in Washington, Ia. Special interest groups and big banks were bailed out in the wake of the 2008 crisis, while middle class folks lost their jobs and their homes, he told a crowd of more than 200 gathered at the city’s library. ”We’re outnumbered in power, but not in people,” Paul said. “Fortunately, we still have a way to change things, and that is through an election.” The Texas congressman has vowed to cut $1 trillion from the federal government during his first year as president. By voting for him, Iowans can show they “reject the status quo,” Paul said. ”The country is waking up; there’s getting to be a different understanding of economic policies,” he said. http://dmreg.co/s6oS5a
She also has the new endorsements he picked up: http://dmreg.co/tSgTuO
Remember the Iowans that wanted Chris Christie to run so badly they launched a Draft Christie movement and traveled to New Jersey to meet with him? They are all supporting different candidates now, Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) reports: The seven Iowans who united to recruit Chris Christie to run for president have splintered in several directions – two endorsed Newt Gingrich today, while one previously endorsed Mitt Romney, one went with Rick Perry, and three haven’t publicly announced decisions. http://dmreg.co/u4aSVg
Bachmann: Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson also reports that the Minnesota Congresswoman named her favorite gun at her Mt. Pleasant event yesterday. It’s the AR15: http://bit.ly/sO37EE
Perry: ABC’s Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) reports that the Texas governor has seen some large crowds at his events. The Muscatine event yesterday drew 150 and the Mt. Pleasant meet and greet had 100 people.
From Arlette: At The Button Factory in Muscatine Wednesday, Perry held one of his best events of the bus tour. Introduced by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Perry was at ease with the crowd, mixing in jokes into his serious stump speech. Asked by a voter how often he prays, Perry admitted he often prays he won’t make another gaffe which will end up on national TV. “I prayed right before I walked over here that I wouldn’t make any mistakes that my friends in the media would be able to put on television,” Perry said as he stared down the back row of reporters at a campaign event here while the crowd laughed. “I pray a lot because I’m prone to make a lot of mistakes.” http://abcn.ws/tJ2VrY
Paul: On the stump, Paul lays into the NDAA and gets huge cheers from the crowd: http://abcn.ws/tJs7et
Santorum: The day after the Vander Plaats endorsement CNN’s Chris Welch (@cwelchCNN) reports Santorum brought a new line of attack against the president: Fresh off the heels of a coveted endorsement, Republican Rick Santorum displaying some newfound confidence Wednesday as he accused President Barack Obama of playing “Chicago politics” and dividing the country to win an upcoming election. The President has been “painting a picture” over the last six months of an “us vs. them” narrative, Santorum said. ”Rich vs. poor,” he went on. “ It is classic class warfare. It’s dividing. It’s a very divisive message.” The former Pennsylvania senator said the reason Congress hasn’t gotten anything done is because the President is “trying to pit one group against another.” ”It’s pathetic. It is beneath the dignity of the president.” http://bit.ly/uXTMOd
Gingrich vs. Romney: The Associated Press’ Tom Beaumont (@TomBeaumont) and Kasie Hunt (@kasie) report on Gingrich and Romney’s differing opinions on the payroll tax cut issue: http://bit.ly/sC8HhU
The Boston Globe reports on the lack of voter excitement here: Their support is fractured and weak. They lack confidence in the conservative credentials of the national front-runners. If they have picked a candidate, satisfaction with their choice is tepid.Interviews with voters this week and recent polls reinforce the sense that Iowans, with less than two weeks until their caucus, are uninspired by the Republican Party’s offerings, and many are settling for candidates with relatively low appeal.Ron Paul, the libertarian Texas congressman, is building a clear lead, even though he is viewed by many in the state as unelectable. Frustration and resignation are common sentiments among Tea Party activists. Evangelical Christians have no single champion in the race. ”The field is too weak,” lamented Scott Utter, a principal of a family-owned security business in Davenport where Newt Gingrich spoke to a group of mostly undecided GOP voters. http://b.globe.com/uaoIHX
Iowa Fact of the Day: Iowa was the 29th state and the first governor was Ansel Briggs. State motto is, “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”
Who’s Tweeting About Iowa?
9:00am CT – Burlington, IA: Breakfast/ meet and greet at Drake on the Riverfront (106 Washington Street, Burlington, IA)
12:00pm CT – Ottumwa, IA: Meet and greet at Kuhly’s Bar & Grill (112 Market Street, Ottumwa, IA)
2:50pm CT – Newton, IA: Tour and employee town hall at TPI Iowa (2300 North 33rd Avenue E, Newton, IA)
9:25am ET – Anamosa, IA: Meet and greet at the National Motorcycle Museum (102 Chambers Drive, Anamosa, IA)
10:55am ET – Vinton, IA: Meet and greet at Pizza Ranch (219 West 4th Street, Vinton, IA)
12:10pm ET – Tama, IA: Meet and greet at Southard Implement Company (1702 East 5th Street, Tama, IA)
1:05pm ET – Brooklyn, IA: Meet and greet at the Brooklyn Library (306 County V18, Brooklyn, IA)
1:55pm ET – Marengo, IA: Tour stop at Doose Café (1106 Marengo Avenue, Marengo, IA)
3:00pm ET – Iowa City, IA: Meet and greet/remarks at the Hamburg Inn (214 North Linn Street, Iowa City, IA)
5:10pm ET – Sigourney, IA: Tour stop at Pizza Ranch (416 West Jackson Street, Sigourney, IA)
6:05pm ET – Oskaloosa, IA: Tour stop at Pizza Ranch (300 Highway 34 West, Oskaloosa, IA)
7:15pm ET – Albia, IA: Meet and greet at Mom’s Place (300 Highway 24 West, Albia, IA)
8:15pm ET – Ottumwa, IA: Tour stop at Country Kitchen (1107 North Quincy Avenue, Ottumwa, IA)
10:00am CT – Maquoketa, IA: Town hall meeting at the Historic Clinton Engines Building (605 East Maple Street, Maquoketa, IA)
12:00pm CT – Dubuque, IA: Town hall meeting at the Grand River Center – Meeting Room #4, Port of Dubuque (500 Bell Street, Dubuque, IA)
3:00pm CT – Manchester, IA: Town hall meeting at the Delaware County Fairgrounds (200 East Acers Street, Manchester, IA)
7:00pm CT – Cedar Rapids, IA: Town hall meeting at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center – Suites D & E (7725 Kirkwood Center, Cedar Rapids, IA)