14 Days Out: Good Morning Iowa

Good morning from Des Moines. We are 14 days out from the Iowa caucuses….exactly two weeks. 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! 

It's a busy day on the trail again today with Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum all campaigning in the state with many of them holding events in the same towns around the same times. Bachmann is on Day Five of her bus tour and it's another marathon day with ten stops as she tries to make it to all 99 counties in ten days or what they call the Full Grassley. She starts at 8AM in her hometown of Waterloo and ends tonight at a Christmas Party in Bettendorf. Rick Santorum will be at the same party about an hour earlier. Note to reporters covering or voters attending the event: watch out for an awkward run-in. This isn't a debate stage it's a small Christmas party fundraiser for a congressional campaign. In between she will make stops in Independence, Fayette, Postville, Strawberry Point, Manchester, Dubuque, Maquoketa, and DeWitt. Rick Perry is on Day Six of his own bus tour and he"ll be joined on the trail today by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Perry will stop in Maquoketa, DeWitt, Clinton, and Davenport. Two of the same stops as Bachmann…dueling bus tours! Newt Gingrich has four events in the state today: a retail event at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Mt. Pleasant; a visit to a small business in Ottumwa where he will tour, give a speech, take questions and hold a media avail. Then he will hold another retail event in Oskalooska before a stop in Knoxville. Santorum is also here and besides the Christmas party tonight in Bettendorf, he will stop this morning in Pella before  holding a town hall in Mt. Pleasant (different location and time than Gingrich's event there). He will also participate in a health care forum at the Genesis Medical Center in Davenport. This morning The Family Leader will also announce if they are going to endorse someone or not. They were still deliberating last night and their leader, Bob Vander Plaats could choose to endorse even if the organization does not come to a decision.

Weather: It's 30 degrees here now and it will be sunny this morning, but we could see snow showers this afternoon and evening. Minimal accumulation is expected, but GMI is still planning on wearing her boots.

Make sure to read The Note from Michael Falcone   (@michaelpfalcone) and Amy Walter  (@amyewalter):With Gingrich Falling, Why Isn't Romney Rising?  http://abcn.ws/s6PH1D

This is the front page Des Moines residents are waking up to today:  http://bit.ly/s0wS1q

What's In The Register?

Dueling Bus Tours: Jason Noble  (@jasonnoble1) is also pulling a Full Grassley with Michele Bachmann and is a must-follow for every bit of trail detail. Today, he and Jason Clayworth (@jasonclayworth) have the front page story: a great minute by minute on the Bachmann and Perry dueling bus tours. Read here:  http://dmreg.co/vI8kQ5

Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) has all the background on The Family Leader decision today:  After agonizing for about four weeks over what to do, the Family Leader, an Iowa-based Christian conservative organization, will announce a decision about endorsing a candidate Tuesday - exactly two weeks before the Iowa caucuses…Four remain on the list of possibilities: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich - but board members have been wrestling over how to reach consensus on just one candidate… Board members have yet to announce whether they will whittle their list down to just candidate or allow Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats to make his own endorsement. Board members met Friday to hash this over, and again tonight. Evangelical ministers around Iowa have led a loud outcry in protest of an endorsement of the thrice-married Gingrich, whose character they have called into question…Social and religious conservatives in Iowa have found it extremely difficult to craft a unified endorsement. Their motivation: a vote split between those they view as more staunchly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage would leave a candidate they consider more moderate - namely Mitt Romney - well-positioned to win on Jan. 3.  http://dmreg.co/ucjiKA

Branstad for VP? Kathie Obradovich's (@KObradovich) column today is about a phone conversation between Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Bob Dole:  Gov. Terry Branstad for vice president? Now we know just how much Mitt Romney wants to win Iowa. Branstad told reporters Monday that former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole called him over the weekend to say he was endorsing Romney. During the call, the two-time Iowa caucus winner said he'd like to recommend Iowa's governor for veep. "I said, 'I'm not interested,'" Branstad said, according to the Register's Tony Leys. "I was flattered, and said, 'That's not something I ever even thought of.' " When someone in politics says they're not interested in running for a higher office, it means precisely nothing. That goes double when the politician in question is the one who brings up the idea without being asked…Romney would obviously love to have Branstad's endorsement, and a little flattery can't hurt.  http://dmreg.co/uT0OiC More on the phone call from Tony Leys (@tonyleys) http://dmreg.co/vvdYnE

Gingrich: Jason Clayworth (@jasonclayworth) was with Gingrich yesterday and the candidate declined to comment on a complaint that his campaign illegally paid him$42,000: "Candidly,  I'm very disappointed to see several of my friends that are running put out so much negative junk," Gingrich said to a crowd of about 200 people at Global Security Services in Davenport…Gingrich for weeks has battled criticism that his business, the Gingrich Group, was paid $1.6 million for historical work and consulting fees for Freddie Mac. The federal home loan corporation is a government-sponsored group that along with Fannie Mae will cost taxpayers an estimated  $154 billion in government bailouts. He responded today in party by saying that very little of the money went to him personally and noted that he has been critical of some of the previous practices of the group. On Monday his campaign faced another possible campaign headache: a watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission for a $42,000 payment Gingrich received from his campaign for a mailing list…In an interview with the media after today's event, Gingrich declined to talk about the issue…Gingrich did, however, further discuss his sagging position in the polls. "Watch TV here for two nights," Gingrich said in responding to why his popularity has sagged. "You have all sorts of people that have consistently been running negative ads. Well, you get a number of negative ads before you start answering them, you're numbers will go down for a while."  http://dmreg.co/tbijUu

Perry:William Petroski (@WilliamPetroski) was on the Perry bus tour yesterday where the candidate spent some time talking about his faith:  Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave witness to his Christian faith Monday night during a national teleconference town hall meeting, acknowledging there was a period when he left God out of his life. He also said improving the nation's economy is "very Biblically based." That's because the economy provides a means for men and women to have a job and dignity and the ability to take care of their family, he said…As a youth, Perry said he attended Bible school at both the Baptist and Methodist churches in his tiny Texas hometown of Paint Creek. He said he realized as a teenager that God had called him. But after he left home to attend Texas A&M University and to serve as an Air Force pilot, he said he neglected his faith."I left God sitting back and I became really self important. I think what happens from time to time in peoples' lives is that they let this temporal world take over and that is what happened to me as a young man."  http://dmreg.co/siUU8g

Occupy: The Register has an update on Occupy Des Moines protestors:  Demonstrators say no more protests are planned at two prominent Democratic Party sites in Des Moines after eight people were arrested Monday. But group members could change their minds at any time, representatives of Occupy Des Moines said, and tactics like those that preceded the arrests are planned for large-scale rallies starting next week at Republican presidential candidate campaign offices in central Iowa…about 11 a.m. Monday protesters moved to Iowa Democratic Party headquarters at 5661 Fleur Drive. "They don't want to be here to listen to us; we decided to go to the state headquarters and make them listen to us," said Daniel Bragg of Occupy Des Moines. Police told 12 protesters that they could either leave or be arrested. Eight people, whose hands were zip-tied behind their backs, were placed in a police wagon and transported to the Des Moines police station at around 2 p.m., where they were cited and released.  http://dmreg.co/u84Cng

More Gingrich: Kevin Hall with TheIowaRepublican reports from the Gingrich event in Hiawatha yesterday. While he was denouncing the attacks on him, it was going on right outside:  Even as Newt Gingrich denounced the various attack ads and criticisms launched against him by GOP opponents, anonymous adversaries were placing negative fliers on every car in the parking lot outside of the clothing warehouse where he was speaking. The fliers accuse Gingrich of advocating for the individual health care mandate, referring to it as "Gingrich-Care".  http://bit.ly/tNcQQD

This is the front page Cedar Rapids residents are waking up to today:  http://bit.ly/vHntaZ

What's In The Gazette?

James Q. Lynch has his own take on The Family Leader's endorsement (or decision) and Iowa House Speaker's Kraig Paulsen's endorsement:  No doubt the most-watched political (move) of the day will be  The Family Leader's announcement its endorsement of a candidate in Iowa's first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses. It comes on the heels of Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen's announcement that he will endorse Newt Gingrich. A formal announcement is planned at the Iowa Capitol Dec. 20. In endorsing the former U.S. House speaker, Paulsen called Gingrich "a consistent conservative who has led this effort before and, I believe, can lead it again." "We need a president who is ready to lead and, more importantly, ready to release the energy of the American people and American spirit," Paulsen said.  http://bit.ly/uTQMdY

Gingrich: Lynch has more on Paulsen's endorsement of Gingrich here:  http://bit.ly/sV0zM2

Perry: Lynch reports from Perry's event in Elkader where Northeast Iowans are still undecided:  Barnstorming across northeast Iowa, Rick Perry scored points with his campaign for a return to traditional values, smaller government and secure borders. However, after his "Faith, Jobs and Values" campaign bus rolled on down the road many of the likely Republican caucusgoers who came out to see him Dec. 19 seemed no closer to committing to the Texas governor than before his visits. "I'm real close," Jim Smith of Elgin said as he left a town hall meeting at Johnson's Restaurant in Elkader. He likes Perry's conservative values, tough approach to border security and promise "to get us back to the Constitution." "He's got a good background for this job and he understands what we're all about," added his wife, Ardis. Still, even though he picked up a Perry yard sign, Jim Smith would go no further than to say: "I'm leaning toward him."  http://bit.ly/vNvYH2

Poll-Tastic: Gingrich plummets in just one week to dead-even with Romney according to the new ABC News/Washington Post poll. Gingrich and Romney are tied nationally, each with 30 percent support, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 15 percent http://abcn.ws/rPN9Jh And watch ABC's John Berman's (@johnsberman) piece on the poll and the latest campaign trail action:  http://abcn.ws/sI0BjW

Paul: ABC's Matthew Jaffe (@matthewjaffe) looks at Ron Paul's very real chances to win here: With Gingrich fading and Romney seemingly stuck at the same levels of support he has enjoyed for the past six months, the door is open for Paul to spring a surprise in Iowa. The Texas congressman, whose backers might be the most vocal and loyal of any in the race, leads Romney by a 2-to-1 margin as the candidate most likely to "stand up for what he or she believes. "The challenge isn't all that great on how we're going to beat Obama. I think he's beating himself," Paul said at Thursday's debate in Sioux City. "I think really the question is, what do we have to offer? And I have something different to offer. I emphasize civil liberties. I emphasize a pro-American foreign policy, which is a lot different than 'Policemen of the World.' I emphasize, you know, monetary policy and these things that the other candidates don't talk about…But the electability question is one that has plagued Paul. While he has earned the fervent devotion of his supporters by standing out from the crowd, his critics contend that he has no shot of earning the GOP nomination and, if somehow he did, the consequences would be disastrous for the party… "What would happen if Ron Paul won the Iowa caucus? The results would become totally insignificant, we would lose our first-in-the-nation status, and Mitt Romney would waltz to the GOP nomination," Kevin Hall wrote on TheIowaRepublican website last week.  http://abcn.ws/s97mx2 And Paul was in New Hampshire yesterday, not Iowa, but he had a testy exchange at an event there:  http://abcn.ws/t3urXQ

Air Wars: 

More Paul: The campaign announced this morning they are releasing a new ad in the state. Made to look like a movie trailer, it features all of Paul's opponents including Obama and Nancy Pelosi. It's an updated one they released here  previously, but this one features Gingrich more prominently. The one minute spot titled "The One, Part Two" Gingrich is pictured under the caption "insider deals" while Romney and Obama are pictured under "smooth talking politicians. Watch here:  http://bit.ly/tp9VWq 

Perry: ABC's Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) reports on Perry's new ad: Rick Perry is out with a new ad asking voters to consider what "street" candidates work. The 30 second spot categorizes Newt Gingrich as a K Streeter and Mitt Romney as a Wall Street man, while Perry is the man working for Main Street. "Iowa Republicans have a crucial decision. Which street will we choose?" a voice asks in the ad. Titled "Streets," the new ad is the third spot released by the Perry campaign that hits Gingrich and Romney. Previous ads have linked them to the individual mandate and characterized them as political insiders who have contributed to the country's economic turmoil.  http://abcn.ws/s35MbM

Gingrich: ABC's Elicia Dover (@EliciaDover) is on the trail with Gingrich and has more detail on his call to stop the negative attacks on him here: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich put out a call to all Iowans tonight to stop the negative campaigning by asking candidates to stop running ads. After saying at an earlier campaign stop in Davenport that the candidates running attack ads were "reprehensible" and "helping Obama," Gingrich told people to approach a candidate they know is running negative ads, ask them to stop and tell them "they ought to be ashamed of themselves." "Next time you see one of the candidates who's running the negative ads, ask them to take it off the air," Gingrich said. "Just say to them, it demeans America." Gingrich said he's felt the "weight" of the negative campaign against him by people "who have nothing positive to offer." Gingrich said the ads have been "saddening but not shocking." In an obvious swipe at Mitt Romney, who has pulled even with Gingrich in latest Gallup poll, the former House speaker asked the audience whom they want to reward in the Iowa caucus."I'll tell the people of Iowa, when you get ready to vote, do you really want to reward politics as usual, negativity as usual, attack as usual, consultant as usual, fundraising from Wall Street millionaires as usual?" he said. http://abcn.ws/vma23p  

More Perry: Saenz  reports that while Perry started the day going after his opponents: Texas Gov. Rick Perry branded the Wall Street bailout as the "greatest act of thievery in American history" Monday and criticized Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for their support of TARP. "There have been people on Wall Street that have been betting against America, and then we bailed them out, and there's nothing right about that," Perry told a crowd of around 50 people at Johnson's Restaurant. "On Wall Street some people got rich. I mean literally, insanely rich, and they were betting against millions of homeowners with these subprime mortgages. Wall Street bailout was the single greatest act of thievery in American history. And Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were for it.""That's what insiders do," Perry continued. "They take care of each other. They protect the moneyed interest and then they leave the tab to those of us in the middle class. They put Wall Street, K Street, which is where all the lobbyists live, ahead of Main Street. Washington's wasteful spending's wrong. It's unjust, it's got to stop and that's the reason I offer myself as an outsider who will walk up there, who doesn't have any connections with the folks on Wall Street or on K Street for that matter."  http://abcn.ws/sArz4D

But, as the day wore on on the trail yesterday, Perry dropped the attacks on his opponents and focused on the president: Texas Gov. Rick Perry today dropped the criticism he's directed towards his Republican rivals over the past four days and instead turned his attacks on President Obama, saying despite the promise of "hope and change" in his 2008 campaign, he has delivered only "destructive" results. "President Obama ran a great campaign, but his campaign was on hope and change, and there weren't a lot of details," Perry told a crowd of around 50 people packed into the Country Junction Restaurant. "We sure got some change. I agree there. But the change that we got has been, it's been destructive to our country."  http://abcn.ws/uASuI9

Perry also told ABC's Terry Moran, in an interview aboard his bus, that Gingrich is the "granddaddy of earmarks":  http://abcn.ws/uZJEnd

Bachmann: ABC's Russell Goldman (@RussellGoldman) is on the trail with Bachmann while she tries to sell her final pitch to Iowans:  To hear GOP contender Michele Bachmann tell it: "An electric light switch has been turned." Iowa voters who have ignored or abandoned her since her August win in the Iowa Straw Poll are, she says, once again looking to her as the only "consistent conservative" in the running here. Disheartened by Mitt Romney, disenchanted by Newt Gingrich, disappointed by Ron Paul  and dissatisfied with Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, Bachmann is hoping she'll be the last person standing, when traditionally conservative Iowans vote in the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan 3. "I think after the debate we saw in Sioux City, Iowa, it's like an electric light switch has been turned on," Bachmann said in Grundy Center. "Our crowds have been phenomenal. Our support keeps sliding up. There are no surprises with me. I'm not a politician. I'm a real person."  http://abcn.ws/vALLlE

Santorum: With two weeks to go, Santorum is pitching electability:  With the caucuses two weeks away, Rick Santorum is pitching himself to the still undecided voters of Iowa after spending months talking them about his social, economic and foreign policies. For Santorum, now it's time to seal the deal and he has to push something else: electability.Trying to build momentum and convince voters that he can not only win here on January 3, but he can also beat Barack Obama next year, Santorum told voters at the Warren County GOP Dinner Monday night not to listen to polls and pundits urging them, "Don't defer. Lead." "Send a message to the man, send a message to the folks in New York and Washington who are trying to tell you who to vote for," Santorum passionately told the crowd. "Lead, lead this country. Give us this clear contrast that Ronald Reagan gave us in 1980 against Jimmy Carter, don't give us a bowl of mush."  http://abcn.ws/vzQD6N He also picked up two more endorsements yesterday:  http://abcn.ws/sci4Br

Even More Paul: Politico's Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns report on the very real Paul panic in the state:  http://politi.co/tNiOpQ

The Associated Press reports on the worry here that a cyber threat could hurt the caucuses:  http://bit.ly/sbU8FG

The Wall Street Journal's Danny Yadron and Jonathan Weisman report on how the Gingrich attacks are working…and changing voters minds:  http://on.wsj.com/rAX5mY

Iowa Fact of the Day: On January 20, 1982, Ozzy Osbourne dined on a bat while on stage in Des Moines while in front of 5,000 fans.

Who's Tweeting About Iowa:

@ AnthonyNBCNews In Indianola  @ RickSantorum displays a new, red sweater vest. @ FearRicksVest  # decision2012  instagr.am/p/aMFIi/

@ JeffZeleny Gingrich bemoans the weight of attacks against him. Here's a graphic to show just how heavy that weight is in  Iowanyti.ms/uUAV0A

@FixRachel  Ron Paul is Batman  youtu.be/XESux7oFMDY

The Schedule:


8:00am CT - Waterloo, IA: Meet and greet at IHOP Restaurant (2090 Crossroads Boulevard, Waterloo, IA)

9:30am CT - Independence, IA: Meet and greet at the Falcon Civic Center (1305 5 th Avenue NE, Independence, IA)

11:00am CT - Fayette, IA: Meet and greet at Victories Restaurant and Sports Lounge (128 South Main Street, Fayette, IA)

12:00pm CT - Postville, IA: Meet and greet at the YMCA (313 West Post Street, Postville, IA)

1:30pm CT - Strawberry Point, IA: Meet and greet at The Franklin Hotel (102 Elkader Street, Strawberry Point, IA)

2:30pm CT - Manchester, IA: Meet and greet at the Pizza Ranch (1100 West Main Street, Manchester, IA)

4:00pm CT - Dubuque, IA: Tour stop and remarks at the World Mann Java Café (700 Locust Street, Dubuque, IA)

5:30pm CT - Maquoketa, IA: Meet and greet at Flapjack's Family Restaurant (101 McKinsey, Maquoketa, IA)

6:20pm CT - DeWitt, IA: Meet and greet at the DeWitt Community Center (822 6 th Avenue, DeWitt, IA)

7:30pm CT - Bettendorf, IA: Christmas party and remarks (3195 Westminster Road, Bettendorf, IA)


9:00am CT - Pella, IA: "Faith, Family and Freedom" town hall at the Monarch Restaurant  - Royal Amsterdam Hotel (705 East 1 st Street, Pella, IA)

12:30pm CT - Mt. Pleasant, IA: "Faith, Family and Freedom" town hall at the Mt. Pleasant Public Library (307 East Monroe Street - Suite 101, Mt. Pleasant, IA)

4:00pm CT - Davenport, IA: Will participate in the Genesis Health Care Forum at Genesis Medical Center (1227 East Rusholme Street, Davenport, IA)

6:00pm CT - Bettendorf, IA: House party to benefit John Archer's congressional campaign at the home of John & Andrea Archer (3195 Westminster, Bettendorf, IA)


10:00am CT  Mt. Pleasant, IA - Meet and greet at Hy-Vee grocery store (1700 East Washington Street, Mt. Pleasant, IA)

1:00pm CT - Ottumwa, IA: Tour, Remarks, Q & A,  small business roundtable, and media avail at Al Jon Company (15075 Al-Jon Avenue, Ottumwa, IA)

4:15pm CT - Oskaloosa, IA: Meet and greet at Smokey Row Coffee House (109 South Market Street, Oskaloosa, IA)

6:00pm CT Knoxville, IA: Event details TBD


**NOTE: Will be joined by LA Governor Bobby Jindal at these events

11:45am CT - Maquoketa, IA: Meet and greet at the Decker Hotel Buffett Room (128 North Main Street, Maquoketa, IA)

1:30pm CT - DeWitt, IA: Main Street walk at the Whisk Away Café (919 6 th Avenue, DeWitt, IA)

3:30pm CT - Clinton, IA: Meet and greet at the Candlelight Inn Main Room (511 Riverview Drive, Clinton, IA)

5:30pm CT - Davenport, IA: Town hall meeting at the Figge Art Museum (225 West Second Street, Davenport, IA)

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